Arsenal Stans vs Arsenal Fans
Arsenal bring me so much joy and so much anxiety in equal measure. They have the ability to make or break our weekends. The hope, trepidation, the possibilities and then the relief of when the wins come in is unrivalled to me across any other sport. And this feels like I could pretty well apply this as a common theme across all fans of the club. We want The Arsenal to do well and have fun when it happens. Though one thing I have seen for quite some time now is that people are willing to die on the most obscure hills to ensure they are proved correct, even if it means the club have to suffer for it to occur. Let me explain…
There are a multitude of player or manager fan accounts are fast taking over the social media sphere, specifically Twitter in this instance. You have your Pepe Stans, Arteta Stans, Pep Stans, Messi Stans, Ronaldo Stans etc etc. They make it their life’s mission to ensure the guy they back or don’t back is brought up again and again. More so than any positivity around good things that happen at the club. In addition, it works the other way too, there are people who are so blinkered and almost faux positive to back their own previous opinion. It’s maddening for two reasons; 1. There is never a modicum of objectivity within their stance and 2. It’s okay to be wrong or even change your opinion on something!
Why do we have to settle entirely into one camp and not moderate our views iteratively? Why can’t we be grown up enough to suggest that we may have overlooked something previously? Our egos obviously take centre stage in a footballing sense as it well should with any level of banter/schadenfreude that goes on, however we could achieve a lot more reasoned debate if we were to put down our slanted data sets for just a minute.
Arsene Wenger said something to this effect in 2018 around fans following players more so than clubs: “If Ronaldo leaves Real Madrid for Juventus, the fans follow him to Juve. The International base is more interested in the players than the clubs.” He’s not wrong. We’ve seen it for quite some time now. The trouble with it is that it kind of pours over into the word we all hate; agenda. It’s sickening to see fans take pleasure in Arsenal losing because this might mean the end of Arteta as a manager. It’s sickening to see the likes of Saka and ESR bashed for a slightly under par performance because the “Pepe Stan” is upset with the number of minutes he’s getting. How helpful is this with not only the progression of us as a club but also the effect it might have on the players themselves? Social media is their world now and they will more than likely see this stuff post match. It can’t be healthy and therefore must be detrimental to our clubs’ progression.
I make no bones about it, I don’t think Arteta is the right man for the job. I thought there were some green shoots a few weeks ago. The loss vs Liverpool is something I can understand in our current stage of the project. Even the loss vs Man Utd is something we can come to terms with, because of the insane mental block we have at Old Trafford (for years!). Though when it comes to playing the likes of Everton away who are not only in horrendous form but are playing some terrible football this season, we should be good enough (2 years into the project) to beat them convincingly or at least coherently. My worry is that we are very much a goldilocks team in that everything needs to be juuuuust right in order for it to work,. And considering the one game a week schedule coupled with Arteta having been there for 2 years, I feel it’s just not good enough at this level.
Now that doesn’t mean for one second that I will want us to lose on Saturday. I will of course tweet my happiness if we win the game, because I want my club to do well. Many people might find this offensive in that my view is Arsenal winning > Arteta being sacked. We also have to remember that the social media sphere isn’t wholly representative of what actually goes on in the ground. The outcry of change for managers/players is usually magnified online, but isn’t anywhere near as bad among the 60,000 that turn up every week.
I mean who genuinely is a fan of Stan Kroenke? Who really and truly believes our ownership is steering out club with purpose and ambition? I’m not sure many do…
Don’t be a Stan, be a fan.