With Christmas approaching the start of the season seems an awfully long time ago. But, try to cast your mind back to Saturday 17th August, when Arsenal started the season with a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa. It was a result greeted by a chorus of boos at full time. Radio phone-ins were clogged with irate Arsenal fans moaning about their team’s failure to spend and forecasting doom for the season ahead. Some blamed Wenger for not spending, others thought it was the board holding the club back, but the overriding message was clear – this team are not good enough.
Fast forward to the present day, and Arsenal fans are digging out tweets from anyone who suggested their team would struggle and mockingly re-tweeting them. The absolute worst are old tweets suggesting Aaron Ramsey should be dropped, or sold, as if this wasn’t a logical view to hold last season. But, this “look at you, you bunch of twats, hahaha suck it up, you were wrong” behaviour has become depressingly well established. It’s part of the modern football fan dogma that dictates we must react with mindless hysteria to any criticism of our club. You can’t just enjoy football, you’ve got to actively go after people and ram your success down their throats.
I have seen this with my own club, Watford. Last season there were numerous articles criticising Watford’s use of the loan system. Some of them contained inaccuracies, but many of them were simply expressing an opinion from the author that Watford’s approach didn’t sit well with them. That’s fine, it doesn’t have to. I doubt I’d be wildly enthusiastic about it if I supported a different Championship club. But, I’ve seen enough shit at Vicarage Road not to care if we don’t have Martin Samuel’s approval. Ultimately, he can’t do anything about it, so I’m just going to enjoy the football, thanks.
Evidently, others find criticism harder to swallow. Earlier this season, the journalist Miguel Delaney had the audacity to write that Borussia Dortmund were superior to Arsenal after their victory at the Emirates. Here’s an example of how that went down on Twitter.
@MiguelDelaney Dortmund were better but not superior to Afc. Afc outplayed L'pool. Why are you so biased?
— Kubla Khan (@fedyaaly) November 2, 2013
Really? I mean, at this point you have to question whether some people should be given access to the internet. I’ve seen numerous accusations of bias towards journalists in recent months, and each and everyone one of them has been utterly devoid of intelligence.
Journalists cannot influence the outcome of football matches. If they were to actively pursue a bias against one club, what would be the point? It would be the most futile campaign ever undertaken. If Arsenal win 5-0, what can an anti-Arsenal journalist do about it? Nothing. They can do nothing. No one ever won a trophy based on favourable editorials. Journalists are paid to have an opinion, which we are all free to dispute. But, that’s it. There’s no conspiracy, no grassy knoll theory.
The internet’s worst quality is that it gives voice to brainless cretins. I could go on to list examples from other clubs (the Opta fuelled twattery of Manchester United fans is fast becoming the worst thing in football) but we’d be here all day.
Football Twitter can be funny, it can occasionally be informative, but it has also revealed that all clubs have some terrible fans, no exceptions.