Arsenal Fans: Insufferably Spoilt? Or Are They Entitled? Part 1

Sad fans

Are Arsenal fans spoilt? – Part 1

It’s often said that Arsenal fans are seen as both insufferable and a joke by other fanbases.

I can see why this is so, but then I think to some degree it’s unfair.
What prompted this piece was the latest Footballistically Arsenal podcast, in which it was discussed why Arsenal fans are disliked. It’s an intriguing point, and something that we should be cognisant of.
These are some common points by fans of other clubs:

– “Gooners are too demanding”
– “Gooners don’t realise how good they have it”
– “Arsenal has achieved great success, just be happy!!”
– “Gooners are insufferable, embarrassing, and too in your face”

Are we too demanding, or insufferable? It depends.

I think part of the issue is expectation. This examination will go over several parts, and I will look at here if we are indeed entitled as other fans say:

History

In terms of major trophies, Arsenal is third in overall attainment. This includes leagues, cups, and European trophies.

However, we won trophies before the Wenger era, and with distinction. Just look at the Chapman era, the 1971 Double, or the five-minute final in 1979. We’ve always had high standards, based on our history of achievement.

Invincibles

When one thinks Arsenal, one thinks of Anfield ’89, the Invincibles, Wenger, Wright, Bergkamp, Henry, Adams, and numerous other great players and moments. We’re defined by success, and far more than clubs (without any disrespect) such as Walsall, Charlton Athletic, or Grimsby Town.

So, as experiences shape perceptions in life, it’s natural that we have high standards. It’s the same with Man United or Liverpool. How many United fans, vis a vis Stoke or Watford fans, would be content with finishing 8th or 9th every season? Not many, I am sure, if any. United is the most successful club in England, and the richest club on Earth. They have achieved leagues, trebles, and European highs, so they would naturally not be happy with that. It’s not baseless entitlement, but just experience shaping outcomes or expectations.

Different experiences

I empathise with clubs like Coventry City, or Leyton Orient, which have both had serious issues of late. I know both may look at Arsenal with bewilderment. Nonetheless, it is about experiences and expectations. Coventry used to be a regular Premier League club, though they even then did not compete at Arsenal’s level in that period.

Leyton Orient fans. They look happy.

Leyton Orient fans. They look happy.

Leyton Orient for many decades has not been a top-division team. In a London context, they’re akin to Brentford or Millwall, which both have seldom competed at Arsenal, Chelsea, or Spurs’s levels.
In life also, we can only comment on fully, or relay, what we know. Arsenal has gone nearly 100 years of continuous top-flight football. Everton holds more seasons in total, but no other club possesses this degree of regularity.

Maybe we do come across as entitled, arrogant, or spoilt, but it comes from a reasonable place, I believe.

Next time, I will talk about our fans, and if it’s true or not that we are embarrassing or hyper.

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One Response to Arsenal Fans: Insufferably Spoilt? Or Are They Entitled? Part 1

  1. Nigel Benson October 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    You are quite right about expectations. I became an Arsenal fan(atic) in 1977, when Liverpool were in their pomp and everyone else was just chasing second. I never expected to see Arsenal win the title so when we did, in dramatic fashion in 1989, it was one of the most incredible moments in my life.
    But, when Arsene started achieving the sort of success we hadn’t seen since the 1930s, a lof of new (dare I say bandwagon) fans started supported the club. This new breed wanted to follow a club which won trophies regularly, which certainly wasn’t the Arsenal I had been supporting for so long. And these new fans quickly became disillusioned if we didn’t win something every year. I didn’t enjoy these new fans, because I felt they didn’t really understand Arsenal. We’re not a club that has enjoyed sustained periods of success (apart from the 1930s). We win a title every 10 years, on average, and claim the odd cup (usually in dramatic fashion). As veteran football writer Graham Greene once wrote: “Arsenal are better at chasing a cause, than defending one”. That has been the Arsenal I have known and loved for 40 years. I’ve seen us lose cup finals to Ipswich Town, West Ham, Luton Town and Birmingham. It didn’t make me love my club any less. That’s football. That’s life. So, these latterday fans looking for reflected glory would be better off “supporting” Man Utd, Man City or Chelsea, if that’s what they’re after. As Dennis Bergkamp said: “Do you love Arsenal. or do you just love Arsenal with trophies?”

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