The Pessimistic Wing of the Arsenal Support

By on February 6, 2010

Regular Contributor Ted Harwood gives his take on the pessimistic wing of Arsenal supporters.

Plenty has been written on just about every good Arsenal blog over the past week about the reaction to last Sunday.  I am not planning on rehashing the arguments about the game here; it was disheartening.  The reaction was also disheartening.  What I’m interested in is the idea of faith, the idea of support, and above all, the idea of civility.

Faith, in the broadest sense, is built into sport.  Outcomes are never pre-determined in football and anything is possible.  Even the most bitter, hate-spewing, gutted fan knows this, unconsciously.  In religion, the believer makes his faith manifest through ritual and practice.  In sport, he manifests his faith simply through the act of witnessing.  For the fan, turning on the television or turning up at the ground can only be motivated by the belief that a positive outcome is plausible.  If we are meant to struggle at Chelsea, what were Leeds fans thinking on their way down to Old Trafford in the FA Cup?

It is this sense of possibility, this hope enacted through the watching, that unites the so-called “Doomer” and the most optmistic of the supporters.  The Doomer, the Job of the realm of fandom, sees only persecution and hardship; the most ardent pro-Wenger zealot sees only the hope and sometimes is blind to suffering.

But we are all supporters, and despite all his ranting, Job still saw God in the sky.  (We see him at center midfield, but that’s a different post).  When the Doomer says he sees no hope, his cable box puts paid to that lie.  He sees hope even while damning the earth all around him.

This sectarian turmoil is only magnified by the nature of interaction on the web.  Things are blown all out of proportion, things are said on forums that would never be said down at the pub or in the stands (well, maybe they would, but I can’t imagine they would come rushing down in the same volume).

On the forums, both “sides” of the argument are apparently cunts, and the other human beings know fuck all.  I will grant that after a match like last Sunday, there is probably not a great deal of analysis necessary.  The players played badly at key moments, the goals went in, the match infuriated everyone.  We are only human, after all.  But look what happens in the aftermath: like believers after a disaster, faith is questioned, debate ensues, and everyone starts calling names.

A good and civil debate about tactics and mistakes and success can and should be what this, and any blog, are about.  However, everyone calling each other names whilst simultaneously claiming to have the upper hand in analysis smacks of childish boasting and, frankly, makes the name caller’s case harder to understand.

Players are entitled to have a bad day.  We all have bad days at work. Fortunately for us, we do not stand between the posts for Arsenal.  We are ALL diminished when fans slag off the players and other fans’ integrity, though, much as humanity itself is diminished when one person lays low another.  The men on the pitch are not faultless angels, but they can lift us to the sky if we let them.

Winning, as with everything else, is guaranteed to no supporter, but we read that minute-by-minute every weekend all the same.  The Doomer lets down, if not the players, the other fans, his/her comrades-in-arms; the Doomer betrays his own faith; thus, the Doomer betrays himself.  The zealous supporter betrays his better nature in calling the Doomer names.  Pride and anger ensnare both in the wrong fight, and belief flickers.  We lob insults at each other and at players, and only Tottenham supporters win.  So let’s all turn our televisions on come Sunday and await not a miracle–no!!–but the sheer joy, the sheer emotion, the sheer goddamn humanity of the footballer in motion.



  1. JJ

    February 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Do us a favour, never write a blog again.

    • ArsenalStation

      February 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

      What didn’t you like about Ted’s piece, JJ? I’m asking because I’m interested in your opinion…

  2. 1979gooner

    February 6, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I don’t think polarising supporters into two groups is very helpful. There are two extremes, but most people fall somewhere in the middle.

    In a lot of supporters’ minds Arsene has left us short in a few areas over the past few seasons. Arsene has made a few mistakes and he needs to remedy them.

    Our current squad has too many lightweight creative ball players and not enough players who can get stuck in and fight battles on the pitch.

    It’s been that way for a couple of years at least.

    • ArsenalStation

      February 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

      It’s not the writer who is polarizing the supporters… it’s the supporters themselves. He is saying the same thing as you. I don’t think even many pro-Arsene supporters think he hasn’t made any mistakes. I’m a very optimistic, pro-Arsene kind of supporter but I don’t hesitate to criticize him when I feel he’s made a big mistake. But just from reading the internet, it appears that the Arsenal supporters have split into two groups almost and the writer is saying that it is a bad thing for the club for the supporters to be not only so divided but so bitter with each other. We are all Gooners, after all.

    • Daxxjoker

      February 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

      I agree with the third part of the message above.
      That’s exactly what I’ve been saying from the beginning.

      About second part,mate – you must know that before correcting some things and mistakes – Wenger must first admit that he made mistakes.And that is tough for our manager.Really tough.So tough that he will rather play guys like Denilson till their legs give up,than give up on them.Even for some monkeys it is obvious that not all of the players have the quality to play for Arsenal.And instead now having Song and Flamini in our midfield – we have useless Denilson.
      Yet again – letting Flamini go after a SUPERB season – letting him go to Milan to rot there – and letting him leave on a free . . . 1979gooner,my friend – that is not a mistake ! No ! It is another part of the bigger picture.
      And I will request from the people running this blog – to tell me what is Denilson’s purpose in Arsenal team.
      1 – He is not the real DM ! Defensive midfielder or Dog midfielder – like Essien,Carrick,Fletcher,Mascherano – ofc he is not ! He is not strong,he doesn’t strip opponents of ball possession and is short so he can’t win head-duel.
      2 – He is not an attacking midfielder – like Diego,Kaka and others.Ofc he is not – cause his technique coefficient is negative.
      3 – He is not a clear midfielder – like Lampard,Gerrard,Ballack and others.
      4 – He has desire,I will give you that.
      Now answer,please.

      Another thing – Van Der Sar,Reina,Cech,Given,Friedel,Gomes,Hart,Howard,Schwarzer,Sorensen,Gordon and Fulop,Green,Myhill,James,Jaskelainnen.
      These are all the gks in PL better than our number 1.
      And I will add that Robinson and Kirkland are not worse than Almunia.I will say that,at least.Not worse.

      So – are you really telling me that is unreasonable to want to see a top-class keeper in a top-class club ???
      This list of gks doesn’t bother you at all ???
      Buying Manuel Neuer or Igor Akinfeev would be wrong ???
      Would lead us into bankruptcy ???

      NO ! ! ! Renewing contracts of players like Eduardo lead us there before this does.

      • Daxxjoker

        February 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm

        One more thing !
        Yes,everyone is entitled for a bad day.
        But last 2 games with Chelsea and last 2 with Manchester at the Emirates – those were all bad days ???
        Too much of a coincidence to label them bad days.
        When a top club has a bad day – they should draw at home with some mid-table club or lose at home to a fellow CL club.
        And lose 0-1,1-2.
        Not lose 1-4,1-3,0-3 and 1-3 and face conceding 6 or more goals in every of those games.

    • Ted Harwood

      February 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      It was not my intention at all to polarize the supporters, 1979. It was merely to point out that the extremes at both ends are motivated by the same love, and that that love is what keeps everyone across the spectrum coming back week after week, no matter how they feel about the club.

  3. JJ

    February 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Can’t write English? If you can’t see it you shouldn’t be running a blog either.

    • ArsenalStation

      February 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

      The writing in the piece is fine. If you don’t understand it, maybe you’re the one with the English problem. If you’re looking for smaller words and shorter sentences, there are dozens of other easier-to-read Arsenal blogs out there.

  4. JJ

    February 6, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “The Doomer, the Job of the realm of fandom, sees only persecution and hardship despite being well-fed and surrounded by the largeness of existence;”

    You call this pile of cack English? Never read so much garbage in my life.

    • ArsenalStation

      February 6, 2010 at 11:04 am

      I’ll give you that sentence… LOL!! But, really, it’s only the last phrase about existence that is unclear. Can you honestly say that you don’t understand what he’s talking about? Don’t criticize the writer, though. As the owner/writer/editor of the blog, I should have caught that before the post. Sadly, though, I am often pressed for time, which is why I have guest contributors to help out. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the piece but I’d hope you still enjoy the other posts or the blog overall.

    • Ted Harwood

      February 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      I probably got carried away. Sorry about that. The point is just that, in fits of anger, we are prone to ignore everything right before our eyes that Wenger has brought to the club and to football. The Job connection is strained a bit on purpose.

  5. spit yo game

    February 6, 2010 at 11:07 am

    i think they should cut that statue in half.the left can represent the good half and the right the bad,We don’t need to be in the position we are it’s down to wenger while we have become so bad.All this critisism of wenger is valid and the supporters who think it’s good that we keep backing the manager after the results we have had against united and chavs recently need to question themselves.

  6. JJ

    February 6, 2010 at 11:09 am

    The whole piece is absurd and badly written. Do what you like, but don’t expect anyone to take you seriously.

  7. Adegbayi

    February 6, 2010 at 11:53 am

    @JJ, y r u so AGGRESSIVE on the blogger take it easy. If u don’t like is blog then u don’t have to so disrespect of the job he’s doing.

    • ArsenalStation

      February 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      First of all, it is a guest article. Second, if anyone thinks they can do better, I would be more than happy to consider them as a guest contributor. As a full-time student and parent of two, I don’t have nearly as much time for the blog as I’d like. I don’t make money from this… I do it simply because I love the club.

  8. oldhasbeen

    February 6, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    While we have a couple of VERY dodgy goalkeepers, we have Arshavin masquerading as a CF, geriatric reserve SHs, and lazy garbage like Denilson in the team, I’ll be staying on the “pessimistic wing”.

  9. Malcolm

    February 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Tired of this sh*t. AW is f*cking idiot who keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again! Only a true fool does that and really expects to win. What an absolute plonker!

  10. Dash

    February 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Fck denilson does shit all! our very own lucas!

  11. neutral

    February 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I didn’t disagree with AW when he complained that some fans at the Emerites were over-critical of the players-and continually voicing that did not help anyone perform better. Arsenal fans have a reputation for being over-critical about their own team-these are not “doomers” from overseas-as I read on one site-but regular fans-disgruntled because they are not getting value for money-over the course of the season that is not true-but I also suggest that Arsenal are the most frustrating team in football to support- primarily because for all their passing and movement, the top 2 have been stopping Arsenal playing for so long they can do it with their eyes shut-and Arsenal respond to this by playing the same way with the same players- especially those that are ineffective-and flog themselves when the same thing happens-they lose!
    This isnt because United and Chelsea have better players overall-its because the way Arsenal deploy their team they attack too much, too slowly leaving them selves wide open to a counter attack-it isnt the players who are naive its the person responsible for how the team plays-the manager.

  12. Daxxjoker

    February 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm






    • Gary

      February 8, 2010 at 12:49 am

      Daxx may be a bit over the top at times, but he’s on point on a majority of is statements. Putting little arshavin up front against a defence like chelsea is a damn joke. How many times did we see him try to make a turn and get stripped? How many times did he try a “clever” pass, only to give it back? Put him on the damn wing and let him create from there. Today’s fixture was a pain to watch, and I saw every second of it. Were they speaking the truth when they said that wenger wanted to sign a striker only after the man u match?!? It’s going to be a tough second half of the season after this month. We’ve lost our stride and swagger after a decent run against decent teams. Hopefully the CL will keep us motivated cause we’re basically thru in the PL–that’s the last thing I’ve wanted to say, but it’s true.

      • ArsenalStation

        February 8, 2010 at 6:48 am

        I agree with you, Gary. I believe that after the United match Wenger should have started with Bendtner and our tactics didn’t seem any different. We looked just as naive defensively and were caught on counterattacks in the exact same way.

        However, I don’t believe the title race is over yet. After Liverpool we have an easy schedule the rest of the way and you never know what can happen. Of course, it doesn’t look likely at this point but it’s not impossible. And yes the CL now looks like our best chance for a trophy this season, at the moment.

      • Daxxjoker

        February 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

        Thanks,Gary ! Finally ! Someone is seeing the real picture !
        Title race is all over,it couldn’t be any clearer.
        Over for us,I mean.Two powerhouses will keep racing.
        End even if we somehow win at the end – it will only be cause these 2 turned their attention to CL.That title would be fake,and only idiotic “In Wenger we trust” fans will appreciate it.
        You got humiliated two times at home by these clubs,and you lost two times in their houses.You can win the title then,but the world will know you are not the best in the league.You are champion and you have 10 losses.I’m not saying – do it like The Invincibles – but show everyone that you are the real champion.
        You can score 6 against Blackburn and 4 against Wolves and Portsmouth – but when it counts,against the big guns – you create one chance a game and you score one lucky goal.
        I knew it would be like that in these 3 games,and that was my reason for wanting a new striker.Villa,Chelsea and Manchester have great defenses and midfield and that’s when it counts.And the facts show – we scored one lucky goal in these matches.And also – the facts show that Man played with 3rd and 4th central defender.And not that we didn’t beat them – we should have conceded 6-7,but they weren’t all that focused.
        Personally – I don’t give a fuck about Wenger’s principles.
        He stepped over one already,and is about to step over another one pretty soon.And why ?! He is realizing that those principles aren’t that smart.So – he has the money.
        Come summer time – he will be spending.I don’t give a fuck if he doesn’t pay 25-30mill for a single player.He can shit over that principle too and buy Dzeko.I think he can get him now for 25,after this not so great season.
        Why him ?! Cause he’s the striker we need.Looking around the world,you can’t find anyone else who has what he has.He is tall and can put away those crosses – he knows to score with his head.His finishing is amazing – he will score 4 times out of 5 chances.He has good technique – can create chances for him self.He is strong – can rumble with the likes of Terry and Vidic,and actually win the duel or dribble past them.And most importantly – he is young.
        I’m not saying this cause he is my favorite striker.No !
        David Villa is.And I would want him in Arsenal shirt.But he doesn’t have all the qualities and is pretty old.
        Dzeko is a unique striker in the world now.And whoever gets him – even for 40mill – can consider he made the best buy.He would fit so perfectly with our players.For god sakes,just watch one of his compilation on youtube.I watched almost every game of the last season live.Superb ! This season not so much,cause he won the title in the previous one.He knows he is done with that level and he got bored.He almost joined Milan – the club I hate the most.So clubs will have their chances on him this summer and I hope Wenger realizes that he is the best striker – considering all the points.
        But he will go for Chamakh,cause he is a cheap skate.And that guy is not good enough for Arsenal.
        And if he goes for Mario Balotelli – i will know that he is out of his fuckng mind ! That piece of shit is worthless.He is not even good enough for Inter,but we want him.And is a mental case – and If I know something – I know that Wenger doesn’t like nut jobs.
        Believe me – If I were able to sit down with Wenger – I would convince him in 2 minutes that Dzeko is the player he needs and that he should give his all to sign him.

        • Comrade23

          February 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

          Daxx, you cannot have it both ways. We’re out of the title race, but if we win it, it’s not so much us winning it as United/Chelsea losing it? Get a grip man. You’ve gotten to the point where you’re so used to complaining that you can’t be happy even if the club does accomplish something.

          And let’s not get started on the Championship Manager issues. Wenger has apparently set his sights on Chamakh, for good or ill. Balotelli has not been mentioned by anyone but the red-tops, same with Villa. And while I agree that Dzeko would probably be the best fit for our club, who do you honestly think you are to assess that? It sounds as if you don’t so much want to criticise AW so much as take his place. I’m all for intelligent discourse, but your statements are overly critical and just another example of why Arsenal supporters often find themselves so divided. There’s constructive criticism, and then there’s just bloody whinging.

          • Daxxjoker

            February 12, 2010 at 10:18 am

            Damn right,Comrade ! They beat us 4 times – and that shows they are better ! But ofc – you see those 4 defeats as 4 off days ! 3rd best club can not win the league – only the best one can !
            You are the one that needs a grip ! On reality !

            By shots taken/saves ratio – Almunia is 19th best in the league ! I believe you agree with Wenger on that one,right ?! That’s how it should be ?!
            You’ve seen Bendtner against Liverpool ?! You are one of those who think he is not a moron but really,really good player and worth the Arsenla shirt.Ofc you are – you are one of those that take all the shit they’re being served and think that’s the way we should go.

            I do not want to replace Wenger – I’m just saying this team is filled with weak links and that they should be corrected if we want to win something in years to come.
            And if we are developing players for other teams like Barca and Real – if we are a feeder club – then not one single thing should be done.

          • ArsenalStation

            February 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

            Daxx, sometimes you make no sense. No team 6 points back with 12 matches remaining is out of the title race. So to say stuff like “the title race IS over” or “Arsenal CAN’T win it.” Those are not opinions… they are FACTUALLY INCORRECT. The title race is not over until Arsenal are more points behind than they have left to win. Period.

            Last year, United won only 1 of their 6 matches against the other Big 4 sides and they won the title. At the same time we only lost once to the Big 4 last year. The “Big 4 Mini-League” is not how you win the title.

            Why are you harping on Almunia? I’ve said numerous times that we need a new quality keeper. As for not buying last month, who was there to buy? No one of any quality moves in the January window of a World Cup year. I believe Arsene will buy Chamakh and one or two other key purchases this summer.

          • Daxxjoker

            February 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

            I am not saying we are out of the tittle race.
            But you all talk like – Ch and Man will lose 3-4 games each till the end,and we will not drop one single point ! Are you for real ?! With us – heavy math is always included and we are always dependent on other teams.
            How about – once depending only on us ?!
            Tittle being in our hands after 25 games,and up to us to decide whether we keep it or pass it along !
            We still have the chance to win it.But when you look at the things that should happen so we could win the title – you realize that our chances are very small.
            Chamakh only caught Wenger’s eye cause he can get him for free.Without transfer fee – to be precise.
            Did any of you watch 3 Bordeaux games ?!
            I did 50,at least.Cause I watch football more than anyone.
            And even some clubs I hate,when I read that we are interested in one of their players.
            Chamakh is not good enough for Arsenal.
            He misses more chances than Nicklas.
            We need a KILLER up front ! Cause we have so many players that can create chances out of nothing.

          • Daxxjoker

            February 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

            We need a striker who will put those chances on the net !
            Wenger keeps saying he won’t break the bank !
            No one wants you to do that !
            Spend the money you have !
            Our team is far from perfect,yet we do nothing to correct the mistakes.
            If we agree the deal with Chamakh – I am sure that is the only addition for the next season.
            You wait and see.

          • ArsenalStation

            February 13, 2010 at 11:38 am

            Daxx, you absolutely did say the title race was over

            Daxx on February 8th: “Title race is all over,it couldn’t be any clearer.”

            Daxx on February 13th: “I am not saying we are out of the tittle race.”

            Which is it, man?

            And no one is talking like Chelsea and United will lose 3 or 4 matches. But we don’t need them to. If you look at our remaining fixtures, we SHOULD not be dropping any serious points. Meanwhile, Chelsea and United still have to play each other. Six points is not much at all, especially with 12 matches remaining, especially considering United’s overreliance on Rooney and Chelsea’s woeful away form.

            But you seem to think I am saying that we WILL win the title. I have said no such thing. What I AM saying is that we still have a real chance to win the title. It would require us regaining our best form and Chelsea and United to continue to drop points like they have been. It may not be likely but it is most definitely possible. And I will believe we can do it until we are more points behind than there are left to win… because that’s what a supporter does. He/she believes in his team and then supports them to the very end.

            If you were given the chance to give the pre-match speech next weekend, would you say the same things to the team that you say on here? “The title race is over… you can’t win it. You guys aren’t good enough and we need better players than most of you. I don’t even know why Arsene has half of you here in the first place. I have absolutely no belief or confidence in you whatsoever!!” What an inspiring speech that would be!! That would really fire the players up to want to go out and win the match for you.

          • Daxxjoker

            February 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

            How about Che and Man fans keeping the dfaith,and we just play our way,we keep our 6-10 point advantage after 3/4 of season ?!
            That didn’t cross your mind ???
            Too bad ! Let me tell you something.
            We were like that 5 years ago.
            We are not now !
            Since then – we are the ones doing the math,hoping other clubs will take points from these two and we are the ones keeping the faith every season !
            And why ?! Cause Wenger is trying to pull something that can’t be pulled with this squad !
            He refuses to realize and to admit some things !
            Team that has no top class keeper and has only one top class striker (and he is magnet for injuries) – can not win anything !
            But when Wenger decides to accept some stuff – it will be too late ! Fabregas will be long gone,along with other players we are making for City,Barca and Real !

    • Ted Harwood

      February 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      Please note, Daxx, that I make no claims either way about our title chances in this post. My claim, rather, was that despite expressing their frustrations differently and having different expectations, all of us want the same thing.

      It is not for me to ignore or confirm your words, whether I think you’re right (as you claim you are), or whether I don’t. That just simply isn’t my point with this post.

  13. redjellydonut

    February 8, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    You can claim you’re not demonizing Wenger skeptics but when you slot fans into “Doomers” and everybody else, then that’s exactly what you’re doing.

    There is irrationality at both extremes of the supporter spectrum: The “Fire Wenger Now” brigade and the “Arsene Can Do No Wrong” squad. You can ignore them both without missing anything particularly insightful. However, there is a tendency on this blog (and on A Cultured Left Foot, in particular) to treat well-reasoned criticism of Wenger and general skepticism of the Wenger youth project as somehow anti-Arsenal. That’s a particularly distasteful variety of narcissism because it ignores the legitimate and rational critiques of many good and loyal Gooners who have patiently waited for the dividends Arsene has promised year after year after year.

    There is a variety of fan who will never, ever criticize the team, the individual players, the manager, or the organization as a whole no matter what the result is on the pitch from week to week. That’s fine, nothing wrong with that; every football team in the world has those fans and many teams would be lost without them. That kind of cheerleading is all well and good for the Boltons, the Sunderlands, the Tottenhams, who have no choice but to console themselves with “We’ll get ‘em next time, you’ll see!” Arsenal is not one of those teams. To succeed we need to expect success every week, from every player, from the manager, all the time. Without that expectation we begin to accept the mediocrity we’ve been seeing lately. Of course no team can be successful every week but we can expect and demand it…every week. And when we don’t get it, we should scream to the rafters to demand it even louder.

    Teams that want success need the skeptics, the Cassandras, the “Doomers” more than they need the Pollyannas because without the naysayers you end up content with whatever shit gets ladled onto your plate and then ask for seconds. Arsenal and their fans deserve better.

    • Ted Harwood

      February 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      It was not my intention to demonize the so-called “Doomers” in this post. Far from it, in fact. I tend to agree that backing Wenger 100% can be just as extreme (although I do back him despite his mistakes). My intention here was to point out that, as extreme as the “Doomers” may be, they have as much faith as the rest of us, despite saying otherwise. They still tune in and watch. They still get upset when things go badly.

      My intention was not to polarize, RJD. It was to emphasize how we are all the same, and how we all need to stay positive, Doomers and everyone. Sorry if that didn’t come across.

      I don’t agree, though, that we as Arsenal fans “deserve” anything in particular. I have said before, and will continue to say, that Wenger cares more about this team than anyone. This is not to say he will not make mistakes, he has and will probably do so in the future. Rather, it is to acknowledge that nothing is guaranteed to us any more than it is to Blackburn or Leeds fans, and therefore to claim that we “deserve” better strikes me as not quite right. We’re not neglected children; we’re one of the top teams in the world.

      • Gary

        February 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm

        “…to claim that we “deserve” better strikes me as not quite right. We’re not neglected children; we’re one of the top teams in the world.”

        Very good point!

  14. redjellydonut

    February 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    “Success” was an extremely poor choice of words. “Effort” was what I was looking to express and the word I wished I’d written because I hope it’s effort we can, all of us, expect from the squad. Effort, in conjunction with luck and skill, should lead to the success every one of us hopes for. And you also correctly point out that we “deserve” nothing beyond the good faith effort of the team and manager. Good points, all.

    I have no doubt you didn’t intend to construct a divide between the “Doomers” and everyone else, but a statement like:

    “The Doomer lets down, if not the players, the other fans, his/her comrades-in-arms; the Doomer betrays his own faith; thus, the Doomer betrays himself. The zealous supporter betrays his better nature in calling the Doomer names. ”

    implies that the skeptic lets everyone down but the zealous supporter hurts only himself. There is an unbecoming hint of piousness in that characterization that leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many gooners, many of whom think Wenger has made some catastrophic decisions over the last several years.

    I love Arsene Wenger. If I was a prayin’ man I’d pray every day that he sign a life-time contract with the club whether he leads us to the Promised Land or to League One. I know that the Arsenal were here before me and will be here long after I’m in the ground. They will be mighty and they will be abject in equal measure in the generations to come. But, that said, I can still know for a fact that Theo Walcott has pace but no consistent footballing talent. I can be utterly convinced that Denilson isn’t good enough to be starting in our squad. I can see with my two eyes that Manuel Almunia should be back in the Spanish Second Division where he came from. I can know without a doubt that it is suicidal to field an Arsenal team against MU and Chelsea without a striker or competent left back. And I can know, because I have eyes to see and a mind to think, that all these faults and failures, and many others, lie at the feet of Arsene Wenger. I can know all these things and still love the Arsenal and our players and our manager. I could no more hate them than I could my own family. I can simultaneously love my brother, know that he’s an incompetent, untrustworthy fuck-up, and tell him so. It’s all part of the package.

    Finally, you’ll notice that in these comment threads no one attacks the optimist for being optimistic. The head-shaking and finger pointing all runs down hill toward the crybabies, the know-nothings, the fake supporters, the fair weather fans, the Doomers. There’s a reason soothsayers and Cassandras are pariahs. Nobody wants to hear what they have to say.

    • Ted Harwood

      February 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      RJD, you’re right to pick that one sentence out. I phrased it badly; what I meant is that the “Doomer” (always in quotes, that word) lets down his own faith, ultimately, moreso than he lets down those around him. I wasn’t as hard on the zealots as one could be, I suppose. You’re right.

      There are many comments threads, not here, but on other blogs, where the optimists come under heavy fire for being optimists. Those threads usually descend into precisely the horrible name-calling that I talk about here. I don’t think that either extreme is tremendously helpful, but there is something about being a supporter that makes the zealot easier to bear than the Doomer. I come from a place where doom is more or less inherent in the sporting culture, so optimism stands out as something desirable and exotic, almost, to me.

      Thanks for the comments, man.

  15. redjellydonut

    February 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    At the end of the day, in a good and just world, we could all go down the local and hoist a pint and all would be right with the world. As it is, we’ll just have to have that drink in our heads and remind ourselves that everyday forever and ever we’re all gooners and everyone else are c***s and so we win. Cheers!

    • Comrade23

      February 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Couldn’t have said it better, rjd. And perhaps with a win over the scouse, things will look better in the cold light of day tomorrow. As we can’t get on the pitch ourselves, we’ll just have to pull together and support the lads. And keep a hand on our wallets.

    • ArsenalStation

      February 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      Spot on, rjd. It’s a conundrum because negative supporters see those not like them as blind followers of Arsene, even if they are not (see Daxxjoker’s attacks on me). On the other hand, those of us with a more optimistic outlook see the negative supporters constantly criticizing the club, the players, and/or the manager and wonder how will that help the situation get better. There will always be extremists, but I believe that one, like myself, can be optimistic and support Wenger while also criticizing him when we believe he has made mistakes. A completely negative supporter is just as much an irrational extremist as the completely acquiescent supporter.

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