‘Global Gunners, armchair critics, fan groups, blah blah blah!!’ – What really makes you a Gooner?

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Today we are delighted to welcome our good friend Rob Woodfin to Gunners Town. This is Rob’s first blog and the Arsenal passion will jump out and bash you on the head like a sledge hammer……

Before I start writing about “what makes an Arsenal fan” it is important that I tell you a little about myself. I was born a Gooner back in 1981; I attended my first game at the age of 6 and was a Junior Gunner. I have had a season ticket for as long as I can remember and still do today in the North Bank block 10. I am a massive GOONER, that’s all you need to know.

Enough of me, let’s get to the subject in hand. I have chosen to write about this because on Twitter a lot of the time there are debates about “who loves Arsenal more”, “whose opinion carries more weight”, “I am more of a fan than you” etc etc.

GLOBAL ARSENAL

As a global brand which Arsenal now is, it is normal that we are going to have fans in all parts of the world & the thing that annoys me is that some think that because they don’t live in England/UK they are not “real” fans or know less about our great club. I just find this utterly ridiculous. You have fans in Australia, Nigeria, India, America (sorry if not mentioned your country) that stay up till early/late hours watching our games – for me that is dedication, commitment and only something “real” fans would do. To suggest otherwise is ignorant and down right rude! These overseas fans have also set up podcasts, fan groups and you can see on youtube the clips where they meet up for games in their shirts to watch “The Arsenal”. Whether your fan at Home or Abroad you got the thumbs up from me.

Global fanbase and then some!

Global fanbase and then some!

 ARMCHAIR ARSENAL

Secondly “armchair” fans, I mean I don’t really care if they go to the ground or watch from their front room to be honest. A Gooner is a Gooner…right? Does it mean they know less about the club because they don’t attend matches? For me NO! I mean where do we all find information about the Arsenal? Arsenal.com, Google, archives, books, video’s, museum’s?

Armchair Supporters but still supporters

Armchair Supporters but still supporters

For me and sure for many, it was passed down from our dads and mums. I know my knowledge and passion comes from a family trait – we are all Gooners and that will continue to the next generation and the generation after that because I will and my sons/daughters will have been brought up “right” and keep Arsenal in the family. I think all fans are entitled to their opinion or view on things but at the end of the day those that attend, have season tickets, commit to the club, follow away from home (we have the best away support) are the core of our support. I can’t really afford my season ticket but every May/June I damn well make sure I have the dollar so I can. Does that mean I am a better fan? I’m not sure about that but it means I bloody love this football club and am willing to make sacrifices to make sure I am at the Emirates every other week.

From father to son a Gooner

From father to son a Gooner

The one thing I will add that I disagree with is those that knock the atmosphere but don’t attend games – for me attending games is a pleasure, is something that gets me through work, knowing I will be attending “the Arsenal” at the weekend. It is a treat but a treat that unfortunately not all can afford or commute to, but that does not mean they are less of a fan. Those of us that do go, well we truly are very lucky.

FAN GROUPS

Thirdly I would like to focus on fan groups. The two main ones being the AST and BSM. Fan groups are common in every club, in every sport. The one thing that irritates me is that those that are at the head of this group’s think they are right the majority of the time. They think they are the “voice” of the fans. I think both the AST and BSM do a lot of great things but by being a member does that make you a better fan? Does knowing the clubs finances to the minor details, knowing about every sponsorship deal, every player’s wage, knowing the price of fish & chips make you a better fan? Does it mean you’re more of an Arsenal man/women?

 

Not an economist but still a Gooner honest

Not an economist but still a Gooner honest

Surely the main thing about being a fan is the success on the pitch?  I don’t care who you are; winning football matches is what it is all about. Who has a good weekend when Arsenal lose? Of course off field activities such as sponsorships, wages are all important in terms of our club being stable financially and the last thing any of us want is for our club not to exist. But winning and that does not necessarily mean trophies but succeeding to the best of our ability is what is most important. Have we succeeded over past 8 years? That’s a debate for another time and that many have already had.

Funnily enough I have just joined the BSM (I disagreed at the beginning) because I like what they are trying to do within the ground – creating a better atmosphere and making the matchday experience more enjoyable. If you follow @highburyharold you know that the BSM are trying to work with the club on these areas & others.

So what does make an Arsenal fan? For me it is simple. You just have to support the club through “thick & thin”. By this I mean through the good and the bad. I saw a tweet from @flittsgooner that all tickets were now selling out now we are top the league. Coincidence? No, fans are fickle but true fans are not. I have never stopped attending the Emirates, as many others have not and I never boo at the ground. Yes I talk in the pub after or on twitter but never boo at the stadium – what’s the point? I don’t want glory hunters (we are not United), I want fans that are passionate about the club and who want the best for our great club. Believe me we have many great fans and our away support is the best in the land.

Did you boo and would you do so again?

Did you boo and would you do so again?

I hope this has all made sense and I hope all Gooners at home and abroad can unite behind this current Arsenal team and help drive them onto lifting our first trophy in a while.

 Just remember this….we are the Arsenal, we are the best, we are the Arsenal so fuck all the rest……fuck em all, fuck em all… 

A few questions to leave you with:

Do you have to own a season ticket to be regarded as a true fan?

Does booing make you a bad fan?

Thanks,

Rob Woodfin

Thanks Rob and please feedback to Rob on here or via twitter and follow him @RobWoodfin1

12 Responses to ‘Global Gunners, armchair critics, fan groups, blah blah blah!!’ – What really makes you a Gooner?

  1. gzagee November 17, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Very good read. It’s a subject that appears often on forums and is used as a way of dismissing many an overseas Gooner as JCLs or fairweather.

    • Rob November 18, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks mate, foreign fans are just as important as those of us that attend games. Premier league broadcasted all over world & is important AFC has a big following at home and abroad.

      Thanks for reading

  2. Amos November 17, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Why bother to even try to categorise fans? Chances are everyone of the 60,000 fans attending a match have different motivations and reasons for their choice of club. Who are the real Arsenal supporters as opposed to just the followers? Probably the ones that would definitely still turn up if we were playing in the lowest league. Fan loyalty is more of a myth than many would have you believe. Even the supporters groups such as AST and BSM are largely parasitic organisations led by people with an inflated sense of their own importance as ‘fans’ living of the status and success brought to the club by those they often oppose.

    • Rob November 18, 2013 at 11:33 am #

      I think those that attend games generally are huge fans, of course get some that aren’t and just want to see stadium etc. the supporter groups actually do a lot of things for the good of the fans and in clubs best interest. Sometimes the way they go about it it don’t agree with but they care. We have been 8 yrs with no trophy and still get 60k fans.

      Thanks rob

  3. Hong November 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Great article! I am a Chinese Gooner who lives in London. As a season ticket holder, I try to go to as many games as I can to support my team, home or away. And I do feel very lucky as I know there are so many passionate Gooners in China who have never been able to do it. I agree with Rob that a true Arsenal fan should support the Arsenal through thick or thin. But I do boo at the stadium towards those players who do not pull their weight. It’s disrespectful to both the fans and the team mates. As the saying goes, if you want respect, give respect. So to answer your questions: A season ticket does not automatically makes you a true fan and booing does NOT make you a bad fan. 🙂 Up the Arsenal!

    • Rob November 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Thanks for reading. I would say stop the booing as it does no one any good & others will follow. Need to make the emirates a fortress and this is only helped by the fans support. But I understand your frustration with those that don’t put in the effort, tho that is up to the manager to motivate or not pick them.

      Thanks again rob

  4. Youknowitsme November 18, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Do your research before writing this stuff. Apart from Australia, all the other countires you mentioned have the games played at reasonable times. But anyway, how can you compare the time and money that someone like yourself has spent watching Arsenal compared to someome from Asia who spent a few dollars on a fake jersey, someone who doesn’t know the chants properly, someone who always cries “Wenger out Wenger out”. I’m not even from England but I always give you English credit when it comes to online discussions, and I always believe that the English fans have every right to question fans from around the globe. Sincerely, a passoionate Gooner from the other side of the world.

    • Dave Seager November 18, 2013 at 7:58 am #

      Some of what you say is true but not all. Any evening KO would be late night our early hours in India and amy lunchtime would be night or early morning in USA. I have personally sorted tickets on 5 occasions this season alone so far for fans travelling at great expense from all overt he worked to visit the Emirates. Thanks GoonerDave66

    • Rob November 18, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      Timing of games not all that important was just making the point they are not always on at convenient times like in UK obviously. As said being a fan is supporting AFC thru good & bad times. Don’t have to buy the shirt (tho wearing the colours is good), don’t have to attend games – I see this as a real privilege that not all are able to do.
      I don’t feel that by myself attending every home game, I then have right to say foreign fans not important. I see them as an equal, we all want best for our club, we all want to win etc etc

      Thanks rob

    • JediKnut November 21, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      Do your research? That’s a bit harsh! Champions League games begin at 1:15AM (October to May – damn you DST) on a weekday, here in India. That means not getting any sleep until at least 3:30AM, and being up & at work the next day. No easy task that. Agreed, it’s not as crazy as Australia, but it’s not what I would consider a ‘reasonable’ time!

      And not everybody in Asia might have the money to buy the original jersey…
      Yes, I do have a fake jersey. Hell I have two. Unfortunately they were gifted to me by people who didn’t know any better at the time. I also own almost every home jersey from 2002 onwards, and the occasional away jersey too. Those are all originals. Why stop at jerseys? People also use Arsenal’s onlinestore (braving the shipping charges and customs fees we pay) to buy other merchandis & memorabilia. I even bought myself an Arsenal jacket from the local Nike store when I saw it available here. Is it the best jacket I own? No. Is it waterproof? No. Does the weather where I am permit me to wear it more than 5 days a year? Hell No! Do I still carry it around when I travel to colder climes, even though there are more functional, and less heavy jackets I own? Absolutely.

      My point isn’t about spending money to prove you’re a Gooner. Some can, some can’t.

      A lot of Arsenal supporters here are also not a part of the “Wenger Out” brigade. Personally, I’m more of an “Arsene Knows” man.

      Yes, English fans do have an ‘edge’, as they have a larger opportunity of going to games, but I think this is a great article and I fully respect Rob’s views!

  5. Martin Wengrow November 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Great article. Agree with your sentiments. Your passion for Arsenal is NOT determined by whether or not you attend matches. It is insulting for anbody to suggest otherwise.

    • Rob November 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Cheers Martin. We are a global club so need a global fan base. We are just fortunate we get to go to games, real privilege.
      I’ve watched arsenal matches in New York, South Africa, Australia and the bars have been packed & passionate.

      Really is good to see our club being supported all over the world.

      Thanks rob

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