Tag Archives: Norwich

Arsenal Protest – Some Honest Thoughts

End of April. A lovely sunny day. The sort of day that makes going to football a pleasure for a supporter. No heavy coats, travel light and watch your team, enjoy the day.

There was an undercurrent to this match though. Many fans who are not happy at the clubs ambition and feel that the club are just treading water and happy to just float along with mediocrity were looking to start a protest for change. This group of supporters decided that a way of doing this peacefully was to print out some banners saying “It’s time for change” which covers a few angles from Board, to manager, to ambition, to spending money, to atmosphere inside stadium, to treating supporters like customers, to the squad, to having no leaders, to our style of play, to the boring football served up, I no doubt could go on.

The protest was arranged to be made inside the stadium to get maximum exposure. Of course protest could affect the team, but three games to go and a season where a rocket up the arse of the manger and players would still not have made a difference to our let’s try to reach 700 passes in the game and try to walk the ball into the net.13094134_10153759225883003_6923289599038057988_n

The idea was for fans to hold them aloft on twelve and seventy-eight minutes, highlighting the twelve year of no league title. I was unaware that any songs would be attributed to go with this protest, more it would be a silent, but visible protest. I did not hear any  anti Arsene/Arsenal songs or chants from where I sat.

During the week the media had been highlighting the protest, however, on the day, the one on twelve minutes was a bit of a damp squib. However, strangely it had a different effect. The crowd that had been largely silent from kick off (and all season if we’re to be fair) started singing “One Arsene Wenger” and again to be fair it was at least half the stadium chanting it.

How hypocritical seeing as at no stage this season had that song been sung out loud and proud by those supporters.

Yet the effect the banners had was to get the home crowd going, this was followed by a pretty decent atmosphere for fifteen minutes or so as the crowd responded and got behind the team. Just what Arsene wanted and called for. Yet even with the crowd no vocally backing the team it had absolutely no effect as the team continued to pass, pass, pass, pass and lose possession, ending the half against a team in the bottom three with zero shots on target.13094407_10153759228193003_1656619385808908333_n

As the first half wore on, the very same people around me that were belting out “One Arsene Wenger” were then groaning at the football being served up in front of them. The half time whistle went and you could clearly hear boos and this was also from some around me that were singing his name during when the banners went up. I lost it a bit, turned round and shouted at them, you sing his name then boo you his team, have you no fucking idea, the hypocrisy!

The game itself was a steaming pile of crap. Norwich were shocking as you would expect from a team in the bottom three, yet even they can sit back, defend and say to Arsenal you can play in that middle third of the pitch all day for all we care, make 700 passes, because we know you’ll end up not shooting and giving us the ball back eventually.13139102_10153759227863003_1360654799750726710_n

Arsene made early substitutes yesterday for a change, maybe the Sat Nav GPS system wasn’t working and he had to think for himself. Arsene more often than normal got out of his seat and walked to the touch line. When Danny Welbeck came on for Iwobi once again like Campbell v Swansea you could hear the boos ring out, more for not bringing off Giroud I would imagine, but there were boos regardless. Once again I got up, turned round and shouted,  “so now you’re booing the decisions of the man that you sung his name out with pride.

Yet on this occasion Arsene did have the last laugh as Danny scored the winner, from a Giroud knock-down. Mind you Giroud was a disgrace for the rest of the match.

Then on seventy-eight minutes the banners (albeit fewer) than on twelve minutes were raised again and the “One Arsene Wenger” song was again sung out loudly and for some with so much pride (as if they were singing the national anthem), but this also was a lot less louder the one in first half. During the second half of poor football you could hear the groans, which were also coming from the same fans that belted out his name again.13139210_10153759228218003_1727717860023279785_n

Fifteen minutes before the end crowds of people started leaving, this added to the 10/15 thousand already empty seats made for grim viewing and yet they supporters still kept leaving, again some being the very same people singing his name with pride. At the final whistle, I stayed, I always do, the stadium was a third full.

I will be interested to see how the crowd react in the final home game against Aston Villa when the team do a lap of appreciation. How will that go down? I am all for laps of appreciation when I know your team have given their all over the season, yet this season? For me it’s been a poorest under Arsene by a mile. There was no FOCUS, no SOLIDARITY and  no MENTAL STRENGTH.

In my opinion I would say Hector, Nacho, Lauren, Alexis, Cech, Cazorla when he played have been  our best performers.  I’d give a shout out to Iwobi and Campbell who did all they could, the former for coming in and giving his all and playing some neat football and the latter when picked did well for a young lad coming in under the circumstances.  It’s been an awful season and I for one will be glad to see it end and look forward to the Euro’s.13138815_10153759228113003_2040249950285305347_n

I’ll end on the “time for a change” note. I could be happy with a situation where the change could be Arsene changes. A summer where he goes and gets  the players we so obviously need, the leaders we need. Let me see him change his tactics and formation to suit our personal available in any given match due to injuries, suspensions and also play to our opponents strengths. Sometimes you have to play a certain was to get what you want.

Stop the endless passing game that goes nowhere. It only works when you have Tomas, Jack and Santi, players who can drive you forward and pick that amazing pass out like Ozil. It doesn’t work when they are all out with long-term injuries. It also works when you have strikers that can finish.

It does not work when you have Elney, Coquelin and Ramsey who can  pass all day long, across the pitch, backwards and sideward’s, but once they reach the twenty-yard line they do not posses the creative passing game.

Do this, start competing to win the title, not top four, Start competing to win the Champions League, not reach the last sixteen and you might find that the supporters looking for change might get behind Arsene again. Remember we’re football supporters, who can change with whatever way the wind blows.

Harlow Gooner

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Time for change – Arsenal is stale

ChOKcG9WkAEUaUOFirstly my excuses for non attendance today, Gramps is 95 and it’s been planned for a long while to go and visit him for his birthday, so I’m writing this in the car on the way to the deepest part of the garden of England.Untitled

Those who know me or follow me/us on any social media know I/us have done our bit in the past and will continue to not only talk online but also back it up with action. Back in 2014, we called for a protest very similar to what is planned today.

At the time, as you will see if you scroll down to the comments of the previous blog, we got a lot of abuse from many.

I/we were involved at the start of the BSM and continue to support there goals and aims for a better deal for match going fans. Today is no different, there’s about 7 lads and a lady who help in various ways with shewore over the various social media platforms and the blog. Of those 8, 5 will be there today all holding different banners. Backing the team, but not the regime.ChOV099WwAAUhvy

Even us 8 can’t all agree on who is to blame the most for the groundhog season so many of us predicted when yet again the club ignored a transfer window to strengthen the squad. But because we can’t all agree on who predominantly is holding the club back doesn’t mean we don’t all agree that something has to change or the next few seasons will be at best the same at worst a lot more painful.

Someone recently asked me “I am not sure whether to protest. will it change anything”. And realistically, it might not change anything. Stan Kroenke after-all moved one of his American franchises to a new state despite mass fan protests. But what will certainly not change anything is doing nothing.

You will not achieve anything without trying. When the protests first began about ticket prices, many laughed, mocked, claiming it would change nothing. We now have £30 tickets for away fans. Action, protest, worked.

So to those going today I’m not going to tell you what to do, most match going fans these days are highly knowledgeable make your own mind up, but if like us you want change, be it the owner, the board, the CEO or Wenger then pick up an A4 and wave it at 12 and 78mins.

This is your time to let your voice be heard.

GC

Promotion and Relegation – The view of a travelling fan

Being an away day traveller gives you a different outlook as to who you want to be promoted and relegated. Rather than just thinking who you like / dislike, you being to think about the best away trips, the cost of the trips, stadiums you have not yet been too, etc.

With today being the last day of The Championship, and with 2 Premier League sides potentially to get relegated this weekend, it would now be wise to discuss who we want to stay up (and go down) and who we would like to see come up.

Leicester and Burnley are already up. Leicester is a trip I am already looking forward too. Anything around the Midlands is reasonable when it comes to train times and costs. And with Arsenal having only played at the King Power (formerly Walkers) Stadium once, it is a ground where many, including myself, has yet to visit. The only downside is, like many new stadium built since 2000, it is not in the city centre, leaving a 30 minute walk from whatever watering hole you are in.

Burnely is somewhere many have done before. It is a backwater at the edge of Lancashire, where racism and football violence is still right. Am I happy they are up? No, it will be a horrid trip to a ground we have visited 3 times over the last 6 years.

When it comes to the rest of the Championship, Derby, QPR & Wigan are confirmed in the play-offs. The last spot is between Reading and Brighton. Derby, like Leicester, would be a good trip. We last visited 6 years ago, and scored 6. Just a 10 minute walk from the station, an hour and a half train journey from London, it ticks a lot of boxes and is my personal favorite.

QPR is a cheap trip if you live in London, but not a very exciting one. I was happy when they went down, and will not be too unhappy if they fail to come back up. The only factor which might change things is if Fulham go down. It is always good to have a decent amount of London sides in the Premier League to keep rail costs down. Losing Fulham (discussed later) would leave just 4 London trips (Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham, Crystal Palace). I can leave QPR, as long as Fulham stay up.

Wigan is my worst nightmare. A half hour walk from the station, it is another stadium which has been built on an industrial estate in the middle of no where. Most Arsenal fans would have previously done the trip, so it is certainly the team I would least like to see promoted.

The last two, Brighton and Reading, are very similar. New stadiums which we have been too recently (for cup games), both towns easy to get to cheaply by train. But both have the same flaw. When you get to Reading or Brighton, getting to the stadium is then a nightmare.

For Brighton, you have to queue up for another train to get to the stadium, a train which only leaves every 15 minutes. It is not too bad when going to the stadium, but it causes massive delays getting away from the stadium.

In the same vain, Reading is also a nightmare to get too and from the town centre. They put on buses to and from the stadium but these always have lengthy queues. It is a nightmare, especially after the game.

My personal favourite? Derby, unless Fulham go down then QPR.

Today, both Fulham and Cardiff could go down. One is a loss, the other I do not care for.

Cardiff, again, is a ground on the edge of town. A 30-40 minute walk filled with snarling sheep shagging Welshman. It takes over 2 hours to get to Cardiff from London (longer if the train is diverted via Gloucester due to engineering works) and is fairly costly. It is not a nice trip, and one which I certainly will not be missing. Bye bye Cardiff.

Fulham will be a loss. Whether you go on one of the many fan group arranged boat trips, or head to the river for a drink in one of the many pubs, it is a top trip. With zero rail costs and friendly atmosphere, it has been one of the best away days of recent years – especially when it is sunny. Add in that after the game, you are 10 minutes from Central London, it is one which you can make a full day of it. This year we were signing and dancing about Lukas Podolski until the early hours in Liverpool Street. If Fulham go down, it will be a sad day for the Arsenal Away boys.

The other sides in the relegation dog fight are Hull, WBA, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Norwich. We can almost discount Hull and WBA as they are 5 and 4 points away from the relegation zone respectively, with a game in hand on many of those below them. That leaves Villa, Sunderland and Norwich.

Aston Villa is a bit of a shitter to get too, with a train or taxi required to be taken once you get into Birmingham, but as already mentioned, I have an affinity with the Midlands. Under 2 hours to get their, decent train costs, it is a perfect away day outside of London. Birmingham is also a city I love to drink in before an away day, with the Shakespeare just outside the stadium being my place of choice. Aston Villa are a proper football club, Villa Park a proper football stadium. I do not want them to go down.

Sunderland is a horrible place. Whilst it has giving me my two best away days over the last 2 seasons – mainly due to the 5 hour journey’s (engineering problems) meaning I could barely walk once I got back to Kings Cross, it is a stadium I will not be fussed about going too again. If all go’s well ,it is a 3 hour train trip, you will be getting a sore arse by the end of it. But that only drops you into Newcastle, you then need to get the train to Sunderland. With a cost upwards of £100 for the train ticket, it is the most expensive day out.

Newcastle is a good city to drink in pre-game, but the post-game rush from Sunderland stadium, to the station, then to Newcastle has plenty looking at their watches for train times. Add in Sky’s enjoyment of putting teams a large distance apart on an evening kick off (or Monday night this year), there is always the chance that there will not be trains back. Sunderland are certainly a team that I would like to see relegated.

With Newcastle safe, we still get the trip to the North East next season, but without the arsehole bit after getting into Newcastle.

Finally we come to Norwich, who we could relegate next weekend. And I hope we do. A ticket cost of £50 is disgraceful. A lot has been made of our £62 ticket for Manchester City, but at least you get to watch Manchester City and Arsenal. £50 to watch Norwich? No thanks, especially when we only charged their fans £26.

It should tick all the boxes. Cheap train trip, reasonable travelling time, nice town with the stadium close to the train station. But their greed ruins it. They can fuck off.

So who do I want to go down? Cardiff, Sunderland and Norwich, with Derby coming the other way.

Keenos