One mans fight against THE Arsenal’s heritage being trampled over

It does not take much for me to get riled, but Arsenal’s heritage is currently being trampled over by the players and management of the football club.

I am talking about the move away from the tradition that the captain picks the shirt length, and every other player follows suit.

Over the last year or so, we have seen more and more players not follow the great condition and wear different length sleeves. Mathieu Flamini last season actually cut the length of his sleeves down using medical scissors.

If frustrated me to the point that I wanted to find out why the club had become so lax on the issue, and moved away from the tradition.

Having made numerous phone calls, and been passed around like a bad pass the parcel, I was finally contacted by Tom Bennett of the Arsenal press office. I have also been in touch with Hazel Wright. Both have been polite and courteous, but both continually told me that the decisions are not theirs, and they could not put me in touch with anyone who could make a decision on the matter.

Recently, Tom Bennett called and gave me the usual “Our traditions are important” guff. He the trotted out the absurd “Our players are respecting the tradition by wearing short-sleeved shirts when the Captain decides but the undershirt is long”. When for the thousandth time I said “Why not have short-sleeved undershirts available for those occasions? They must be available Giroud wore one in the Cup Final.” He offered no reply.

On the separate issue of Theo Walcott – He said “He rolls up his sleeves” (Does Mr. Bennett watch matches?).

Walcott USED to roll up his sleeves, both now I have been told by Hazel Wright that Vic Akers  pins up his sleeves for him (Poor Diddums) – only Mustafi rolls up his sleeves.

I then said “A referee would not allow any player on the field wearing pins or any sharp object”. Again no reply to that.

My opinion is that Walcott has skipped that process and simply wears a short-sleeved shirt all season. When I put this across to Tom Bennett, I once again got no reply to that.

I also pointed out that originally Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil & Hector Bellerin wore the  long-sleeved performance enhancing garments (PEGs), but only Ozil continued to do so for most of the season, even in warmish weather. If the rest of the team could show respect then why not Mr. Ozil? Perhaps the Club have given him Carte Blanche in order to retain his services? No reply to that.

Mr Bennett said he would speak to the “right people” (what does that mean?). I requested he take this further, especially with Ken Friar. He then said he could not promise that they would reply to him or that he would get back to me.

I pointed out that I was speaking not just for myself but for many others who respect our traditions and to make that very clear to the “right people”. I also stated that maybe they should stop marketing the History-Class-Tradition stuff until this is resolved (which would be easy.) All  this has taken him aback, he thought his “They are wearing long-sleeved undershirts, thank you for your support.” first reply would be the end of the matter.

I think the Club have already capitulated and hoped no-one would notice, if that is the case may they all hang their heads in shame. I hear the sound of Chapman turning in his grave.

Some of you reading this will think stop moaning but if we do not stand up and protect the traditions of this club, no matter how small, where does that leave us? We are THE Arsenal. The grandest club in the game. Disregarding our traditions would make us no different to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

I will continue the good fight. But I am just one man and can only do so much. If anyone else what’s to get involved in putting the pressure on the club to respect our traditions, please get in touch and I will pass on the relevant contact details that I have been using.

Mr. O’Connell


16 thoughts on “One mans fight against THE Arsenal’s heritage being trampled over

  1. junky

    100% respect to you mate for doing this. our club is doings it best to say est 1996 instead of 1886. we left the best ground in the world, to this soulless bowl. the cartoon badge instead of the beautiful badge we used to have. the list goes on and on, and normally it is down to money. this great tradition of shirt length is not money, but just players being above themselves instead of respecting the arsenal. keep it up, and if you could list here the contacts, i will certainly send an email along.

  2. Hants Gooner

    So good to see fans with a real knowledge of the club….not!!
    The badge was changed for commercial reasons as due to copy right laws we were not able to stop others using the badge on unofficial merchandise.
    This was because we could not copy right our badge due to aspects of it not being used solely by AFc the cannon for one being the same as that used by some military units.
    Therefore to ensure the badge could be copy righted it had to change.
    As for tradition players used to arrive in club blazers, shirt an tie thats just not feesable in this day an age its 2017 not 1950!!!

    1. junky

      if you bothered to read my comment properly, i put the changes are normally down to money. hence copyright. so try and keep your insults factual.

  3. Philbet

    We used to have a tradition where fans and blogwriters supported the club through good and bad times, what happened to that tradition??

  4. Peter Martin

    also go back to the original club badge including moto,these prima donas only think about there back pocket no loyalty,i rember little Jimmy Logie selling newspapers on Kings X station and Joe Mercer´’s comment after the 52 cup final “always i thought footballs greatest honour was to captain England but i was wrong it was to captain THE ARSENAL today” quoted in the evening standard

  5. Shard

    I understand and appreciate the regard for traditions. It is what makes us unique. But is this really the hill we should be willing to die on? I mean, what if the players feel that they aren’t able to perform to their absolute best because of this. It might seem an irrelevance to you, but the fact that a few players are making an effort to play with another type of sleeve length should suggest that it isn’t.

    Players these days have more power, are younger and have a whole marketing team around their ‘image’. If the club feel it harms player performance or happiness, I think we should be ok with forgoing this tradition. A statement from them saying so might be expected.

    Maybe if we didn’t always have a negative reaction to the club (see the first comment) about the club being ‘soulless’ and only money spinning, (even as we berate them for not winning the title) they would actually make such an announcement.

    I love our history and our traditions. I love the class we display. But this isn’t something I’d get too worked up about. There’s a danger in being dogmatic about traditions and seeing everything as a slippery slope as well.

    1. junky

      I can only put how i (and to be fair many others) are feeling mate. if the club gave the courtesy of a reply, to the writer of the blog, then maybe there wouldnt be the negative vibes given to the writer, me and others of changes. you are right about players having more powers nowadays, (not sure about younger but i cant back that up with fact), but are the young players aware of this tradition? i cant answer that. you are probably right, the club would get slaughtered if they made the announcement of the change, but i really dont see why the change has to be made. lets keep ourselves classy and unique! 🙂

      1. bigdennumber10

        To be honest mate in this day and age many of the old values are lost/changed/ignored etc and are indeed harder to enforce on the younger generations. I’m not blaming them either, it’s the way of the world. Litigation, Health and safety and people’s rights have never been more accentuated. Personally the long or short sleeve issue doesn’t bother me, if it improves performance for individuals so be it, what I don’t like is the booing of our own, e.g. Bellerin. Counter productive stuff.

  6. Andy Kelly

    Who decides on what is and what isn’t “traditional”?

    We didn’t have short sleeves for the first 70 years of our existence, so it’s actually a new fangled thing.

    The “original” motto wasn’t “Victoria Concordia Crescit” it was “Forward”. Should we revert back to that?

    The VCC badge, although designed in 1949, wasn’t put on the shirt until the 1980s.

    It seems to me that a lot of what is considered traditional is what fans think it is but the don’t realise the club existed before they were born and went through a considerable number of changes.

    And as for disrespecting the long / short shirt sleeves, let’s not forget that the first player to do it was the captain himself – even more shocking is that it was Tony Adams!

  7. junky

    your last comment, i 100% agree with. support the club and this means never boo individuals. i think he took it for the team if you are talking about palace night. i personally feel you need strong management (which could include this shirt tradition), to have success, and improve performance. it wont be the bertie mee/gg strict management, but i feel it is too lax at our club and others. you are sadly right about it being lost. but i think that makes the modern game soulless. i respect the blogger for trying. better than sitting around, moaning and not doing something. (not aimed at you at all mate, more aimed at me.!).

  8. Andy Kelly

    @bigdennumber10 Funnily enough, barracking our own players is probably the longest standing “tradition” at Arsenal. Been going on for well over 100 years now.


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