Just AFC.

July 14, 2011 28 Comments by Sian

The end of last season was quite painful. For all involved. From all points of view. On and off the pitch. Never before have I so longed for the summer break as I did this season just gone. Not only did the team seem to keep whoopsy-daisying their way to disappointing result after disappointing result, but away from the spotlight, fans were dividing themselves into subsections of support.

Not always knowingly – in most cases, other self-titled subsections would take an opinion of someone they didn’t agree with and use it to label this person into a different subsection of support. If you didn’t back the team and Wenger, you were a moaner and a whiner and not worthy of the support of a club as great as ours (by the way yes, it is still great). I don’t know whether these guys ever had an acronym for themselves, but let’s give them AOOL for now: the All Out Of Love bunch. If you did continue to back the team and Wenger, you were an AKB (Arsene Knows Best) believer.

The first time I saw these acronyms, I got really sad. Had it got to the point where these little divisions were now so widely accepted as being true that we were willing to abbreviate them and assume that others knew what they meant? My favourite one was the JCL. This stands, dear friends, for Johnny Come Lately. Now, I’m not entirely sure of the ins and outs of this one, but it does appear to be fairly self-explanatory. It appeared to be older fans, who have been following the team since perhaps the 1960s or 1970s, getting fed up of the newer fans who have been following the team since perhaps only the 1990s or even 2000s. I think, if I remember correctly, that many of the JCLs tended to also be AKBs.

Now, not that I’m condoning the use of this acronym-producing fuckwittery in any way whatsoever, but allow me to speak briefly for these JCLs/AKBs. Many people who have only been following the club for the past say 10 years, have often only been born for the past say 15 years. I’m sure they’d have all loved to have been supporters of Arsenal before that, but as yet I don’t know of any companies who specialise in merchandise for foetuses (foetii?) or for twinkles in fathers’ eyes. For many, their Arsenal love started in the Wenger era. Having never known anything else, it is naturally downright frightening to consider the club under anyone else.

I’ll also try to speak for the AOOLs. They’ve seen it all. They’ve seen the promises, they’ve seen the reality, they’ve paid the money and they’ve been left hurt. It’s difficult to argue with anyone who says that the current Arsenal team fall way short of their supposed potential. Leave them be, they’ve been through a lot.

For a while there, being a supporter of the team actually got a little bit nasty. Usually intelligent people were resorting to playground insults in their arguments against others. To put it simply, if some considered the team to be shocking on the pitch, then some of the support off of it was a downright embarrassment.

I have no other allegiances to other clubs, so I can’t compare but I can imagine that there are plenty of other clubs who have been through far, far worse than we went through last season, and came out of it looking like much less of a battered old donkey than ours did.

You know me, I’m a Monkee-style believer. To a fault, absolutely. Always believing that the birthday cake wish will come true, that the impossible is entirely possible, or that for once, just for ONCE, we will successfully defend a corner. My psyche is black and blue from the times the birthday cake wish has not come true, that the impossible has proven to have been impossibler than impossible and oh shit, we’ve conceded another goal from a corner. So I got, and still get, well arsey with those who are not in the same believers’ boat as me. And I shouldn’t, but sometimes when people are beating the crap out of the team I love, it really feels like they’re telling me that my Nan makes rubbish tea.

I have to learn to be better. I will still believe to the very end that we can do it, but I’m going to not keep shoving that on anyone who says we can’t. I know you love them too. If someone asked you to walk away from them, you couldn’t do it either. It also must be said that a lot of this nastiness is a result of our socially-networked-to-buggery society. I know there are a couple of people who read this blog who simply surf the net (and still call it ‘surfing the net’) and read blogs. They don’t post things on people’s walls, they don’t retweet, they certainly don’t add people to their Google+ circles. So a lot of this must seem brand new to then.

Imagine the scene. Mid-80s. Pub. Gang of mates drowning their sorrows after a particularly poor performance.

Dave: That was shit. Play up, or sod off.

Jim: That was shit. Play up, or sod off.

Bob: Er, Jim… Dave just said that.

Jim: I know. I was RSing it.

Bob: RSing?

Jim: Yes. RSing. You know, Re-saying? If you agree with someone’s views, you re-say it. Then their friends hear it and think ‘Oh that’s cool, I agree with him, I’ll follow him.’

Dave: Follow him? Mate, that’s called stalking. Stalking isn’t OK.

See? Ah, the times they have a-changed. But basically, what I’m trying to say here is, next season on the good ship Arsenal, throughout our treacherous journey across the stormy sea-son, let’s not do all the in-fighting crap. Someone will only get pushed over the edge. And they will die. And no one wants that on their conscience.

We played our first match of the season yesterday, against a Malaysian XI as part of the Asia tour. We won 0-4, which was lovely jubbly, and the boys got to see just how much they are adored in different parts of the world. Whoever thought this tour up is a flipping genius, from a marketing point of view. And also from a patting-the-boys’-egos point of view. After boos at home last season, they were back to being treated like gods in front of fans who were relishing the opportunity to see them in the flesh for often the first time.

There is other stuff that’s been going on too. Nasri, Gervinho, Cesc, etc. The Cesc stuff in particular has got right up people’s noses. We started to see glimmers of the hostility seen towards the end of last season with some of the opinions expressed about the whole scenario. So, I thought this blog was necessary. You’re not an AKB, you’re not a JCL, you’re not a AOOL. You’re a football fan. You’re an Arsenal supporter. No one needs to specify themselves any further.

No more acronyms. Just AFC.

PS. Xavi: if you were on my ship, I’d push you in head first.

28 Comments

  1. Damien
    2287 days ago

    Good positive blog.

    My Twitter feed has been a constant stream of negativity. It’s depressing and rather silly. Some fans need a sense of perspective. Fans who had otherwise wanted Clichy out are aghast that we let him go. I think some have switched to a place where they frame every action Wenger does from here on out in a negative way.

    Reply

  2. Alan
    2287 days ago

    Great perspective on all the crap that’s been going on, Siany. We’re all just Gooners.

    Reply

  3. Denise
    2287 days ago

    Great blog. Absolutely agree with it. Only one disagreement – i’d rather just shoot the entire Barcelona team in the head…… AFC til the end.

    Reply

  4. Raunak Murthy
    2287 days ago

    Top stuff girl!

    Reply

  5. Erik
    2287 days ago

    Nice one…

    For me the reason for the negativity is that a lot of the fans started supporting this team during the Wenger glory days.

    Meaning that a lot of them are young/ish and used to winning trophies, used to having players like Henry, Dennis, Patrick, Bobby…

    Add that to the fact they are English (no offence) but by that I mean the fact that moaning is like the second biggest past-time here apart from talking about the weather.

    Also a lot of the younger fans are absent minded and will easily be seduced by what the media says and will truly believe that some guy that sits behind a desk all day as a job writing for a column is more qualified than Wenger in analyzing what the team needs.

    If you take into account that this same generation is the most active online… then you have a combination of factors that means, doom doom doom doom whenever you go on Newsnow.

    The team isnt perfect, we could do with a couple of signings but even if we do not sign anyone else I still believe we would be contenders… we were last season for most of it and that was without RvP for half the season, without TV, with 3 new CB’s, Kos had to adapt, Squillaci had to adapt and DJ was out for a year the season before and wasnt really a first teamer when we had Gallas and Toure.

    What else? no Ramsey, Cesc had a few injuries, Arshavin was in bad form for a couple of months…

    So can we win the title this season? I believe we can, if we work on both defensive and offensive set pieces and get the team to be more intelligent (e.g workout how to penetrate parked buses) then there is no reason why they shouldnt win or fight until the end.

    Reply

  6. Fourstar
    2287 days ago

    Hear, hear.

    What with this and the recent post over on The Beautiful Groan, are we on the cusp of a new wave of positivity about our believed club?

    I sincerely hope so :)

    Up The Gunners!

    Reply

  7. Pere
    2287 days ago

    Toure Yaya no queria seguir en el Barça y le dejamos ir.En el Barça si un jugador se quiere ir se va,queremos jugadores que esten a gusto.En el Arsenal parece que no , o no lo quieren entender… en fin

    Reply

    • deen
      2286 days ago

      ¿Por qué el Barça inquietar a un jugador y luego no hacer una oferta seria para él? Si su club corrupto ofrece lo que es digno de Arsenal le permitiría abandonar.

      Reply

      • lordsnotty
        2281 days ago

        Er is ein toilettenpapienhalter

        Reply

    • Simon
      2286 days ago

      Lo verdad, veiritat, es que tienes qu a pagar el valor del jugador. Vale mucho mas que el barca quiere or puede pagar. Entonces, no va. Muy sencillo tio. Ademas, los jugadores de Barac no tiened ningun respesto para el Arsenal y demasaido de orgullo…. sabes lo que quiero decir?

      Reply

  8. Daniel
    2286 days ago

    Well said, Sian. Totally agree. We could learn a lot from the fans in Malaysia; I’m happy the players can experience that kind of love for a couple of weeks before they are given an average of 40,000 eye daggers for misplacing a rather difficult pass come August!

    Reply

  9. White Ox
    2286 days ago

    Just getting around to a read of your most recent blog, brilliant again Sian.

    One gripe; what you could’ve done with the AOOLs. I mean, it’s so Air Supply. It should be sung from the terraces next season.

    “I ‘m all out of love, I’m so lost without you
    I know you were right believing for so long
    I ‘m all out of love, what am I without you
    I can’t be too late to say that I was so wrong”.

    Anyway, music is what I’m here for. And should probably be told to leave for. FWIW (an acronym!) I like how our summer’s going. Gervinho’s a good signing, Cesc WILL stay, and we will compete. Can’t wait until the season start.

    And then there’s the small matter of me making the trip to England for the first time ever in February. No big deal. Ho hum…

    Reply

  10. Emdaze
    2286 days ago

    Nice one! My entire family (including nieces&nephews who’re still struggling to understand why we don’t just hold the ball in our hands) are Arsenal fans and have been for what feels like ages now. However only my brother, who lives in London, has ever watched them play in person, until the team came to Malaysia. I can state unequivocally that I’ve never heard an Arsenal fan outside of England talk bad about the Gunners. That seems to be a trait peculiar to those who regularly have the opportunity to watch this great club play. I suppose Mrs Familiarity has been breeding again. Those of us who have to settle for watching them on the Telly love unconditionally. We groan, we hurt, we burst into tears and get suicidal, but we continue to love and respect regardless.
    I hope the international tours continue for many seasons to come, hope that the team understand that Gooners around the world would rather have a cardiac arrest than boo anyone wearing the colours. During the training here in Malaysia, the entire crowd present kept chanting “Nasri stay! Nasri stay!” Both Nasri and Arshavin got the 2nd biggest welcome, after RvP, of course. If Arsenal were to play an entire season outside of the UK, I’m 100% sure we’d put all English fans to shame.
    Ok, that’s enough from me. Please, Sian, more tweets about Arsenal and maybe a few less about shoes.

    Reply

    • Graham
      2281 days ago

      Lovely post friend, I am an English Arsenal fan and I agree with all you say, you are a true Gooner, welcome to this frac tured but beautiful family.

      Reply

    • cherrytree
      2280 days ago

      I’m a Malaysian gooner and was at that pre-season game in KL. No doubt we were all delighted to see the boys in the flesh but I must say when Denilson came out of the tunnel during the training session, he was booed by some fans (not me!). It wasn’t very loud but still audible. Some came from fans sitting near the tunnel so perhaps Denilson could hear it too. It was quite appalling and disappointing that some of the hate for him has spread here.

      But otherwise, yes, the rest of the team were cheered enthusiastically to the point of hysteria (for some).

      Reply

      • Sian
        2267 days ago

        Hope you enjoyed the pre-season action!

        Reply

    • Sian
      2267 days ago

      Aw I hope you enjoyed the training sessions! So nice to hear from fans abroad too. I agree that the international tours should continue, this one was brilliant for the club and the fans.

      PS. Can’t make any promises about the shoes! :D

      Reply

  11. irishgray
    2285 days ago

    Absolutely brilliant young Lady :) I could not have put it better myself and like every one else am getting very tired of the various factions that seem to be around these days in Camp Arsenal. There is as you said an awful lot of schoolyard name calling. I try and stay out of it but there does seem to be a very hardcore group that cannot give AW any credit and would like nothing better than for him to be given the boot. There has been occasion where I have stooped to their level and lobbed a few choice names their way but for the most part it just makes for depressing reading from so-called fellow Gooners.

    So once again thank you for being a breath of fresh air and bringing some much needed positivity to the blogosphere and the world of Arsenal. I am an Arsenal fan, always have bee, always will be and that is enough for me :)

    Reply

  12. irishgray
    2285 days ago

    We don’t always suck at corners Sian and here is the proof, enjoy :)

    http://youtu.be/BTSrmqmtK6o

    Reply

  13. Trion
    2281 days ago

    Top Blog.

    Sharing this on Facebook.

    Reply

    • Trion
      2281 days ago

      Or Re-tweet
      or blah…get the point.

      Reply

    • Sian
      2267 days ago

      Thanks!

      Reply

  14. Funshora
    2280 days ago

    I’m an arsenal fan from Nigeria and there are more than 20m of us down here.i just wish the club make this trips often.i’m from the wenger era but i stil love the team from the bottom of my heart

    Reply

    • Sian
      2267 days ago

      I’m Wenger era too and I couldn’t agree more. :)

      Reply

  15. Enibee
    2280 days ago

    Great write up S. Simple english, clear facts all beautifully wound together. Love the points you raised and couldn’t agree more. PLEASE MARRY ME!!!

    Reply

    • Sian
      2267 days ago

      Hahaha thanks!

      Reply

  16. irishgray
    2274 days ago

    Hey Sian, I hope you are going to games this weekend. God knows I wish i could. Will be expecting a nice write up of your experience :) Just like the players, bloggers need to keep their skills nice and honed!

    Reply

    • Sian
      2267 days ago

      Consider it done! :)

      Reply

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