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A Civil War Among Arsenal Fans Is Developing And A Divided Club Wont Succeed

Our Arsenal fan ‘Lloyd the Gooner’ looks at how the divisive attitude towards many players has left Arsenal a ‘divided club’ that can’t unite behind the team

Andre Santos Arsenal

There were undoubtedly angry exchanges between Arsenal fans at Brighton on Saturday. Already this season there have been demonstrations about the running of the club. It is also the case that, as far as I understand the history of the game, a divided club will not succeed.

Santos may have been the pantomime villain at the weekend, useless is a common view, but his performance was not the only divisive aspect of the game. So many players divide the fans. Large numbers feel the squad as a whole is nowhere near what it should be even given the financial position of the club as compared to our rivals and the building of the stadium. There are others that want to see this team given a chance to develop.

A civil war amongst the fans is developing because of the inconsistency in performance of the team and individual players. We win and one faction asks for patience to allow the team to develop, we lose or play as we did for the most part at Brighton and the antis are in full voice. And the pros and antis for this player or that have their say.

So much in the game of football is subjective. There is no batting average or a PB. But I cannot recall a time since I have been watching Arsenal, 45 years or so, when SO MANY PLAYERS divide opinion.
Around the time of the double in 1971 John Sammels was singled out for criticism by some fans so much so he had to leave the club. A wonderfully polished midfielder who could pass and was famed for the power of his shooting but his departure left the club largely united. Paul Davis was another player who for many years criticised unfairly. He turned the fans round and proved the doubters wrong and in the end was a force for unity. Whatever the rights and wrongs of each they were rare cases.

This season I have heard regular criticism of EVERY player apart from Jack Wilshere. Gibbs is beginning to get that sort of respect too.

That is only half the story though. Those same vilified players have many supporters that won’t hear a bad word about their particular favourite. Even Santos. I read many comments in support on Sunday. One fan trotted out his Brazil caps and how that MUST make him a good player. If he trots out that line in the stands it’s no surprise that a, shall we call it ‘difference of opinion ‘, develops!

We are a house divided, sadly, but how can we unite around a squad with pro and anti factions for practically every player? And we haven’t even started on the subject of the manager…Arrrgghh!!


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