Tag Archives: YouTube

Have Arsenal fans inadvertently become grasses?

We have all been there, at an away game, in the concourse, having a sing and a dance, having a laugh, drinking a beer. Or outside (or in) a pub after a home game, singing our hearts out, playing football (outside of the pins) and enjoying the victory. Or away in Europe, taking over a square in a foreign land, beer in hand, having a sing song.

Next time you are in this situation, look around you. Notice those on the age of the masses. Standing there, not really singing, arm in the air, mobile phone in hand. They are recording you. With the plan to put their recordings on YouTube and Facebook, hoping one of their video go’s viral.

It is a problem that is throughout football. Fans recording other fans. It might seem innocent, those recording certainly do not plan any harm, but there video’s, when going online, entering the public domain, could cause all sorts of trouble.

In the concourses before away games, or the pubs or squares throughout England and Europe, a lot of songs are sung. Some are harmless. Others are a bit naughty. We act the fool. Getting drunk. Riding high on adrenaline and booze. Our morals certainly are reduced.

During the day of a game, you pass under 100’s of CCTV camera’s. On the trains going to the games. Worn by police officers in the pubs before. In the stadium itself. And more recently, body cams on stewards. It seems everyone is trying to achieve one thing. Catch a fan doing something which they should not, so they can issue a banning order.

But now, it is not only the authorities we have to be careful of. It is our fellow fans. With society currently all wanting to be news reporters, whether it is tweeting or video’ing, fans are becoming their own worst enemy when it comes to surveillance. No longer do we have to be wary of the police, stewards or football clubs recording us, we now have to be careful of fellow fans recording us.

I  myself do not like being recorded. I will happily have a sing and dance in the concourse, but as soon as the camera phones come out, I make my way to the side. It is not that I am doing anything wrong, I am very well behaved at games, it is more to do with I do not want my employer stumbling over a video with me in it, or something going too far and clubs deciding to ban anyone who uses the Y word. If you are caught on camera, anything could happen. I would rather enjoy an away day a bit less, then have a consequence cause by a way I might act.

It used to be what happens in football, stays in football, as long as you are not stupid enough to do something which gets caught on CCTV. However, there is now no need for the CCTV, all the police or football clubs have to do is go onto YouTube after a game, scan video’s uploaded by fellow fans, and dish out the bans. A ban could lead you to losing your job. That is how serious it is.

So please, stop inadvertently grassing on your fellow fans. If you want to record on your phone, go to a One Direction concert. Stay away from football.



The Arsenal and Me – Micheal’s Story

It’s All Lee Dixon’s Fault.

Love affairs and addictions often happen by chance. Someone or something comes into your life, possibly briefly but its impact is sudden and overwhelming. My addictive love affair with Arsenal is no different. And for that I blame . . . Lee Michael Dixon.

 I discovered Arsenal purely by chance and given the events of my first ever Arsenal match it seems almost surreal. I had been stationed in the US Navy. With my role in the Navy, I split time between London working for Commander-in-Chief US Forces Europe and Allied Forces South based out of Naples Italy. It was the late Eighties, and during that time frame I’d find my exposure to the game I played as a kid taken to new extremes.

During one of my last stays in London, I happened to be friendly with a lot of the lads from the Royal Navy (and some of the lasses as well – that’s another story). One  in particular, Rory, and I had a penchant for hanging out together and enjoying our favorite past time – drinking. One week he found out his brother was sick and wouldn’t be able to go to a football match with him. One they’d planned on going to earlier but for whatever reason they were unable to (at the time I didn’t fully understand what had happened at Hillsborough)

The match he would take me to was none other than the match at Anfield in 1989 – that magical night when “the boys of” Arsenal would put the “men” of Liverpool to the sword and capture their first league title since ‘70-’71. I would later find out that the original timing of this match was postponed from its original date in April because of the Hillsborough tragedy but much like my experience that night I was not aware of that or Arsenal.

Let me tell you, that when it was all said and done and we were journeying home, I had no idea what I had witnessed. All I knew was that it was intense, it was passionate and in my mind , it was the greatest thing I had ever witnessed.

Exposure to the European game was nonexistent growing up. You just didn’t know it. You knew of players like Pele because of the NASL here in the US, but knowing who players were in England for me never really happened,  till that night. And it was that night that I’d really be drawn to the highly effective play of one player in particular. . .

Lee Dixon. I think I was first drawn to Lee because he was the man who put that final goal in motion, and for some reason when I watched it happen, I just felt I was seeing something magical – that could’ve been Rory’s hand grasping my forearm for dear life though. That pass to Smith that eventually found its way to Michael Thomas would be the catalyst for my fascination with Arsenal.

I would leave London that following week and I wouldn’t go back again until after my discharge, but I was hooked. I had to know more and whilst finishing up my service in Napoli (watching Maradona play for them – how’s that for exposure to soccer) I began reading the weekly versions of the UK papers to keep up on Arsenal and of course Lee Dixon.

If only we had the Internet back then!

Once back home in the US information on Arsenal was harder still.  AOL was in it’s infancy and digital sharing of information was sporadic – at best. So my initial keep-up on Arsenal was through the mail from Rory and similarly to my time in Naples, through the weekly UK press (the Express could be had at certain book shops) available here in the US.  But I was a determined young man and I wanted to see them live as often as I could. And with no strings and money from an inheritance, I went as frequently as life would allow.

As I got to know Arsenal during that time, what struck me about Lee Dixon’s play was the almost unassuming way he went about his business. And for me, that is why I liked him. Where I grew up in the US, we like our sports personalities to be blue collar, hard-working, and not flashy – to me Lee Dixon was the epitome of that.  To say Lee didn’t have flash is kind of misleading – let’s say it was subdued flash. He didn’t have the silky skills we swoon over, but he had a dogged determination to win every ball he good. And because as good as he was defensively, the fact he scored 28 goals – some of a wicked variety are often overlookedObviously there is THAT goal against Chelsea. Coming in from the left side and just rifling a shot in the upper corner that any striker would’ve been envious of. Or the goal against George Graham’s Leeds. Both of those stand out as a testament his offensive skills.

Still, though, he was a defender. It’s always easy to take joy in a goal or the flash of a midfielder or striker, but to truly appreciate a player, you must watch those who ply their trade defending. Sometimes there work is non-stop, sometimes it’s non-existent.

Of course back then, defending was a way of life for Arsenal, particularly when Lee was part of that famed back four. The times I did get to see him live or  in a pub here in the US (the Dicken’s Inn in Philadelphia used to be the early spot) I just always felt watching him – he was so easily good at this. He was a fullback who was solid and determined, and while Tony Adams would wear the moniker of Mr. Arsenal (and rightly so), I always thought of Lee as Mr. Dependable.

Of course any discussion of Lee would be incomplete without acknowledging the own goal against Coventry – the best own goal ever according to some. It was something I didn’t see live but was relayed to me the phone almost immediately after the match. Looking at it now through the help of YouTube, it’s not a highlight reel moment unless you are capturing the worst possible moments of a player’s career. But as I watch it and I watch my favorite player wince and grab his head in pain, I feel it too – even now.

My last memory of Lee playing is probably the time I think I knew, as probably did others, that his playing career was in the wane. It was during the 2000-2001 FA Cup Final in Cardiff. I have to admit to crying afterwards (I’m actually cold and heartless really) and coming to terms with Lee’s mortality. Watching Michael Owen, speed by him for the eventual winner was too painful. But it was painful I think, because we don’t ever want to see our heroes stop being who we know they truly are.

I have this propensity for freezing people in time. I still envision my 35 year old younger brother as 9 year old. For me Lee will always be that man who lofted the ball so sweetly to Alan Smith, and with the start of play for that legendary goal, sent me on a journey I haven’t ever come back from.

We are blessed now that Lee has taken his talents to punditry. He is as good there as he was on the pitch. His ability to dissect a game is a testament, to me at least, to his ability to read a game as player. He is insightful, thoughtful and objective.

As I started YouAreMyArsenal and we started to get some recognition, I was asked if I wanted to participate on a Q&A video with the IAMPLAYR application on Facebook. I was curious. Then they told me who was going to be answering our questions, Lee Dixon. Curiosity be damned. It was Lee.

It’s all a little fanboy I know. But I show Lee to my sons and even some of my players (I am a coach now) videos of THAT back four and I tell them – that’s how you defend. And then I show them Lee scoring – and I say good defenders get to score too.

If I was offered the chance to meet Lee Dixon, I would simply say to him – Lee, thank you. You have given me a love affair with a club no one can take away and I am forever grateful.


Michael is the administrator/blogger for youaremyarsenal.com. You can join his Facebook group here

If you would like to tell your Arsenal story, click here

The Influence of Computer Games on Football Opinions

Today, FIFA 14 is released to the masses. Adults and children throughout the world will be taking day’s off work to get their first taste of the new version – which is basically the same as previous versions with just a few tweaks. Most of them, having just completed GTAV would have just spent £50 on the game and it is this that they will play until Football Manager is out in October.

Over the years, football games have become more influential in the lives of football fans. No longer do they just watch a game on a Saturday, play themselves on a Sunday, and train mid-week, they now spend every woken day playing the simulators. Writing down squads whilst they are supposed to be listening to the teacher. Researching wonder kids during work hours. And spending hours day dreaming on what they are going to do when they get home.

Whilst games such as FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Champions Manager and Football Manager are brilliant – I own a PS3 with just 1 game (or 2, now the new FIFA is out) they also cause my a lot of frustration. Often these games form the opinion of fans when talking about players.

Fans have begun to genuinely build an opinion on a player based on how they perform in a game. Take young players for example. Despite having never seen a young player perform, manager simulators such as Football Manager and Championship Manager will create an opinion for a fan.

Ganso, for example, was massively hyped up last summer. Barely anyone had seen him play. Not many people watch Brazilian football, and he only has 8 caps for Brazil. Very few could genuinely sit and say they thought he would be a good addition to the Arsenal side. Yet many did and many were getting excited over him. Odd.

But not odd when you then remember he has been a star on Football Manager for a few years. People built their opinion on him based on a computer game. They wanted us to spend £20 million+ on a player based on a computer game. It is ludicrous. And now? He is playing for Santos and a big money move to Europe looks unlikely. Football Manager certainly warps the opinion of players.

FIFA also does the same. Anyone who has played the game knows pace is king. If you do not have pace, you will struggle at the game. I believe this is one reason why Per Mertesacker is massively underrated. He is not a FIFA player due to his low pace rating. What FIFA has not got built in properly is how a player reads a game.

If you ever watch Per in real life, you will see he is one of the worlds best defenders. A brilliant reader of the game, he dominates forwards, no matter how quick they are. Pace means nothing if you can not dribble past a defender. And Mertesacker is extremely hard to get past. He will either intercept the pass, or stick out one of his big legs to win the ball. And he does it with ease.

Yes, if a player does get past him, he struggles, but every centre back in the world struggles when they are the wrong side of an attacker.

The problem here is people have built their opinion of Mertesacker based on his FIFA profile. They play with the likes of Kaboul or David Luiz, who are quicker and therefore more suited to the game. They then rate these two as better than Mertesacker, even though they are not.

They base this opinion on a game, not on what they see. Anyone who watch’s these 3 guys on a regular basis will recognise that Per Mertesacker is far superior to the other two.

People also rate Kyle Walker above Bacary Sagna. Again, because Walker is based on the game with brilliant pace. What the game does not show is his positioning is awful and he can not read the game.

The games also change how fan’s think a club is run. They make scouting seem easy. They make signing players seem easy. They make selling players seem easy. “Why can’t we just fax all clubs about Bendtner, offer them a free transfer with a 50% sell on clause” people ask. Well transfers are harder than that.

A game does not take into consideration personal relationships. Families. Wives. A game does not distinguish between playing in Spain, living on a hillside just outside Madrid, and living within the Arctic Circle in Russia. It makes the world of football seem easy. And it is not that easy.

When thinking about football. About players. About how the game works. People need to use their own eyes. Watch players play. Learn how football clubs and transfers work. Not base all their opinions on a game.

Judge players on what you see during games the highlights, or what you read about in reliable papers / magazines. Stop judging players on how good they are on computer games, or YouTube highlights (another frustration!)