Tag Archives: George Graham

It’s fine that people hate us. It’s part of our history

Keenos wrote a piece on here a couple of days ago about how Arsenal supporters were uniting against the media and the way they deliberately portray Arsenal Football Club. I wholeheartedly agree that we should all draw the cannons round and have them facing outwards right now – by the way, that includes those fools from YouTube who claim they’re Arsenal but really aren’t.

The Arsenal have always been at our best when realising that everyone hates us. It’s borne of jealousy passed down through generations, borne of Arsenal becoming the pre-eminent football club of the 1930s. I’ve always loved the idea that people dislike my club because of our class, our heritage and our success. Even when we’re rubbish and no real threat they continue to despise us and go out of their way to have a pop. That’s the power that the name of The Arsenal still carries.

George Graham made that anti-Arsenal feeling, especially in the media, one of the cornerstones of his motivational technique. He was even clever enough to use it on the Christmas VHS in 1990 to whip up the supporters with the staged team-talk at the training ground. George’s message was basically, “We’re The Arsenal. They hate us. Go out and be The Arsenal.” This is exactly what’s needed right now and I hope Mikel Arteta realises it.

I certainly think the match-going supporters will be doing their bit in that regard as the team tries to recover from the disastrous first three league games. Whoever instigated the whole squad standing in front of the away end at Man City perhaps understands the need to be The Arsenal but the whole thing needs bringing back to basics, as I’ll expand on below.

I mentioned Arsenal’s class and tradition a bit earlier and I remember well the day it started to be eroded. Along with quite a few others I was stood outside the players entrance at Derby County in November 1997 and we were all shocked to see Arsenal’s players get off the coach in tracksuits. Gone was the Arsenal blazer and tie. It was a mistake then and it’s still one 24 years later. They used to a play a voiceover from Bob Wilson in the pre-match video at Emirates Stadium saying, “It was just this feeling of turning up with this big gun on your chest…” and you realised how proud it made him and countless others like him. The likes of Brian Talbot, Eddie Kelly and co still turn up at supporters’ events now wearing their Arsenal tie, even their blazer! So why did Arsene Wenger stop it from happening? We’ve seen a decline in standards ever since.

The players today don’t know anything about that. Thomas Vermaelen tried to bring it back by insisting on a club suit when he was made skipper, but it was only used for home league games and “club occasions” such as their charity ball. We’ve had the quite disgraceful sight of Arsenal teams turning up at Wembley finals in tracksuits. What was that about being The Arsenal?

Before this group of players can start putting things right with their play on the pitch they need to be taught The Arsenal Way off the pitch. That means a few basics:

1. Club suits to be worn home and away

2. Club ties to be worn with top buttons fastened – this is The Arsenal

3. No more stupid headphones to be worn when arriving and representing The Arsenal

4. ALL outfield players will wear the same length shirt sleeves and no undershirts beneath short sleeves

5. If there is no need to change kits then Arsenal will ALWAYS wear red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts

6. Arsenal’s goalkeeper will wear green and never the outfield kit of their choice

7. The players will not wear a tracksuit top onto the pitch as though they are in a Wembley final every week – those red shirt with white sleeves show we are The Arsenal

8. The team will run to the centre of the pitch and line up before applauding all four sides of every stadium after entering the pitch

9. The Manager will wear his club suit at, and during, every fixture – no designer Guardiola lookalike rubbish

10. The Arsenal Captaincy will not be treated as unimportant and given to players on seniority on any measure other than being a leader

I know a lot of (mostly younger) people will see all this as superficial nonsense and has no bearing on the team. I got stick online a few years ago about the sleeves issue saying players should wear what makes them feel comfortable. Nonsense. This is The Arsenal. Those are the rules. If you don’t like it you don’t play. If the cannon weighs too heavily on you then find somewhere else.

There is a quote which is these days often incorrectly attributed to David Rocastle. Bertie Mee it was who coined “Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent” and as a motto it should be right up there with Victoria Concordia Crescit. If you turn up to a game looking like a bunch of scruffy misfits you’ll probably end up playing like it, especially when most of the players aren’t top class in the first place.

Once we’ve sorted out some proper discipline and laid the ground rules of what it means to be The Arsenal, then we can start building this team into something to be proud of again. And hopefully we’ll see the mugs making a quid out of Arsenal’s misfortune get out of our club.

Dover Gooner


Unai Emery’s Red and White Army

There is not much to moan about down The Arsenal at the moment.

9 wins in a row, 2 points off top, the place is brimming with positivity. However, there is something that has done me head in since the arrival of Unai Emery.

The backing the manager has got since he joined has been tremendous. We are now singing about him once more and his army. But this is what is annoying it.

It is not “Unai Emery’s red army”.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.

It was “Georgie Graham and his red and white army”. It was “Arsene Wenger’s red and white army”. But at Fulham, it was “Unai Emery’s red army”.

Has it been that long since we sang about the manager that we have forgotten the words? Or does it just sum up society, that we are now lazy, looking for short cuts through life. That dropping off the “and white” is systematic of society.

Well let’s stop being lazy, lets get it right.

We became “Herbert Chapman’s red and white army” back in 1933 when he introduced white sleeves to the shirt. Despite kit manufactures meddling in away kits, it has remained that way for 85 years.

We might sing “red army” at times, but it will always be the managers “red and white army”.

Let’s start getting it right please.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.


We need to reclaim our Arsenal back

Football fans generally have two emotions, elation or agony.  Those are certainly the two I remember from being a young girl standing on the terraces.

If someone had said to me 30 years ago, ‘one day you won’t  feel as though you belong or you will despise the club’ I would have argued with them all day long. How could I not love everything Arsenal??

The Arsenal were my love. It’s where I belonged and where I made my best friends and memories.

The football didn’t really matter. If we lost we felt disappointment, I don’t remember coming away feeling angry. Maybe some anger at a referee, or anger at opposing fans, but not anger at my club. We looked forward to the next game. Someone would get it if we had lost.

Half time we might sing ‘Georgie, sort em out’, we knew he would, George knew.

Fast forward to 2018.

Blue shirt, Cannon facing the wrong way, inept performances, a chairman who treats us with disdain and excuses that run out of every pore of the club.

Fans who treat us a hobby not as a cause, and the fever pitch fans who got involved when football became fashionable.  None of us wanted it to be fashionable.  We liked it that no one liked football. We were looked down upon by the rest of society.

Now we sing to our manager ‘Spend some fu**ing money’ or ‘Get out of our club’.

We now stand where we’ve been told to sit down, hoping the stewards won’t tell us to sit.

We have no idea who will be sitting next to us from week to week, we don’t know the stewards name, we boycott the shop, we’ve stopped buying programmes and when we concede we accept it. We are becoming as passive as those who run our club. I’ve not seen much anger this year.

It’s been like watching a social experiment, how to silence the masses.

We clap poor performances and have been brainwashed to ‘get behind the boys’ at all costs.

We hear more and more ‘there is no point in protesting, there is no point in making a noise’. We buy tickets to games we have no intention of going to…… and we all just wait. We wait for the day it’s going to change.

Earlier on this season I wrote a blog about when anger turns to apathy…..the signs were all there.

Friends whose lives revolve around their job of following the club, started to talk about giving it all up.

So, why do we bother? We bother because we remember. We remember what it was. We bother because without bothering, we wouldn’t ever sit in a pub again and talk about those great days we’ve had with the only people in the world that understand.   Choosing not to go is a huge decision, only a few will really understand that. We are scared of not being part of the new dawn that can’t be far away. We are scared of throwing away a huge chunk of our lives.

The club have become unrecognisable to me. We write and they ignore us, we protest and they wash over it in press conferences. But, we did start to get to them, we were being heard even if they wouldn’t admit it.

I’m not sure those great days will ever come back, but to a certain extent that is up to us.  We have to continue to force change. We mustn’t mirror the apathy on the pitch.  We need to reclaim our place as football fans…. followers of The Arsenal.

It’s our club, it’s still our name on the badge. Anyone who is thinking about bowing out, do so with knowing you have made as much noise as possible before you say goodbye.