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Villa thoughts from the East Stand: the fans aren’t happy 17 May, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

This is usually the part where I apologise for disappearing again and round up what I have missed. Well I’ll tell you where I’ve been, I’ve just come off the back of one of the busiest working weeks of my life, so busy that I didn’t have time to write a blog, didn’t have time to catch up on the news and didn’t even have time for the luxury of sleep. I could’ve written on Friday or Saturday to preview the Villa game but frankly I felt inept having not read a line of Arsenal news in the week prior and I was catching up on some much needed sleep! Plus i went to watch Bournemouth vs. Huddersfield on Saturday in the League One Play-Offs for a bit of a change of footballing scenery.

It’s not like me to have avoided Arsenal news for so long, I’m sure that you’re just the same spending every day on different blogs reading up the latest news, gossip and opinion. It was kind of weird not having that last week but I guess it was a bit convenient as it sort of comes at a time when Arsenal isn’t exactly all bliss and wonderful. Since we last spoke we’ve gone and lost to Stoke and Villa, just two more losses to add to the huge pile of disappointment this year.

I was at the game on Sunday and it was a rather strange atmosphere, it all kicked off with the protest march outside the ground before the match, which almost set the tone for the day. I was in the ground with about half an hour to go until kick off and the stadium was rather empty at this point. In fact by the time we had kicked off it still hadn’t filled up and that was the way it stayed. It was still about 80%-90% full but there were empty red seats scattered all round the ground which just goes to show unless there’s been an epic flu outbreak in the North London area then a great deal of fans have seen quite enough for one season.

Then of course we were 2-0 down inside 15 minutes and that never turned around so people were pretty grumpy, including myself. Then late in the second half came the usual announcement of the attendance, which they claimed was 60,023, which is an absolute joke. I’ve been to the ground enough times to know what 60,000+ looks like and that was not it on Sunday. That number denotes there being a packed-out stadium to the eye and that’s not what we had, it was definitely a 58,000-59,000 number yesterday. They’ve done this all season though; they announce the attendance as the number of tickets that got sold not the number of people that turn up. Why are they doing this? Are they scared to show that they’re losing support or are they just unaware of the definition of the word attendance? The number should represent the number of fans that attend the match, not including those that had a valid ticket for the game and didn’t bother going along.

Anyway it’s a silly thing to get caught up on but the announcement of this number sparked a large portion of the crowd to start the boos and jeers. You could hardly hear the announcer say, “Arsenal Football Club would like to thank you for your continued support…” for all the boos ringing around. This led on to chants of, “6%, you’re having a laugh!” And, “Spend some fucking money!” There were others that I couldn’t quite make out but there was definitely hostility being directed at the directors’ box and bench. I’ve since heard that you could tell Wenger picked up on these chants and looked like he felt quite uncomfortable by them. In one way I want to say ‘good’ but another part of me feels bad for him.

I can’t remember this well another time when I’ve seen such a majority of fans turn against the club like I’m seeing at the moment. The disappointment on the pitch combined with the price hike in the stands has left most fans bitterly angry. I have this strong feeling that we’re starting to become more like customers to the club than fans and sometimes that gets to me.

I’m not trying to say that I’m part of that percentage of fans that are actively campaigning against the club and I’m not one of the thousands that booed the team on Sunday but I’d say I’m in the large majority that feels like something isn’t quite right and I’m utterly disappointed. Unusually for the final home game of the season there were fans leaving with 10 minutes to go this weekend, any other game I’d just think it was normal but not this one. Then on the final whistle it seems the majority was heading for the exits and only a few stayed behind to watch the ‘lap of appreciation’. Given the opportunity, I have always stayed behind for this, I don’t know why I just quite like to see the players off one last time ahead of a boring summer but this time around after the final whistle I upped and left. I was pretty gutted about our performance and it typified the way we had failed this season and I just didn’t see any reason to hang around this time. You could say I was a bit depressed with the way everything had gone, I was genuinely upset walking up those stairs and although I had to think for a minute whether I wanted to stay or not I think I did the right thing.

I think this was the feeling that most felt however some did stay behind. Some stayed to applaud the players off as they came round and thanked the fans for their support however a staggering number seemed to stay behind simply to boo their team. I’ve seen videos and highlights from this lap and you can hear boos quite clearly through the applause. It’s a bit sad really I think, I mean as fans we have every right to show how we feel but for those people to go out of their way to boo the team was a bit wrong. I think what those people should’ve done what I did and head for the exits, I think the shock of the amount of empty seats for the lap would’ve hit home to the players and manager much stronger than a few boos. That’s just my opinion.

I’m not going to lie but earlier on Sunday I was thinking ‘this is our chance to wave goodbye to Cesc’ but I didn’t stay to bother. It’s sad thinking that I might not ever see him play again but oh well. His season is over, he wont be playing at Fulham either so we may have just seen the last of Cesc Fabregas in an Arsenal shirt. It’s going to be an interesting summer and he is just one of a few that could be going through the exit door at London Colney.

It’s set to be a busy, busy summer for Arsenal. In terms of transfers we desperately need to strengthen yet again and especially with the price rise fans are going to be angry if we don’t spend that extra money. I’m not quite sure who we might look to bring in yet, but there are a few names already being talked about for the exit. Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Bendtner, Arshavin, Rosicky, Gibbs, Denilson and maybe a couple others all have some probability of leaving this transfer window. Over the next few weeks Wenger will be having talks with some of these players about their futures and don’t be surprised if a few of those names are no longer with us come August. If there are to be departures I hope they are sorted out quickly though, I can’t be arsed to go through a whole summer of speculation and I the sooner they’re gone the sooner we can look to replace. All this talk is for another day and another blog post though.

It feels very much like the end of the season but we’ve got one more game to go away to Fulham. We’ve got pride to play for now and the small matter of automatic Champions League qualification which is now out of our hands.

Thanks for reading.


1. TIMROY - 17 May, 2011


2. visionary - 17 May, 2011

surely eboue has to be added to that list of departures, cult hero my arse nil

3. Kyle Bartley - 17 May, 2011

Im bit dissapointed arsene has already told me i wont be in his plans next season, i had hoped to follow in jacks footsteps, i honestly dont rate sebastian as better than me. Do you?

EIE - 17 May, 2011


4. Sebastian - 17 May, 2011

Kyle, i appreciate your opinions, but im in my 30’s my amigo, you have much to learn, please dont bring this attidtude to our training ground, i’ve spoken about this before, darren bent would have had a field day against you.

5. Akpo - 17 May, 2011

Nice comments but I differ on your opinion of the boos by fans. In my opinion, the shock of the empty seats combined with the boos sent a stronger message to not only the team, but to Wenger. Wenger is the problem not so much the team and I will explain.

For one, we have been conceding goals from corner kick/ free kicks for about 3 seasons now, yet this has not been addressed by the coaching staff. Personnel have come and gone and the issue remains the same,which proves beyond doubt that it is a coaching problem.

Secondly, we all knew we needed another defender in january and Wenger admitted as much to the world. What did he do? He turned around a day or two to the end of the eindow to say no team can afford 5 central defenders since Vermelean was due back. That expected return in January did not happen until last weekend; May. Who knows what difference a signing like Samba or Cahill, both linked could have made to our season.

Another point is that of a goalkeeper and the issue with Mark Shwarzer is well documented and need not be detailed. This again were direct decisions by Wenger and again, this probably cost us the Carling cup and the season. The examples are numerous, all pointing to a penny pinching manager that prefers only to shop for freebies or sales. Bad nesws is that by the time it gets to the sales, not much good stuff is left on the shelf except you are extremely lucky and thats not happened so far.

Looking to the future, it is obvious we are lacking not only some few quality signings but versatility. Our game is so so predictable and easy for opponents to deal with. For starters, I think we have been patient enough with Arshavin, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, Almunia, Rosicky. Rosicky hurts me abit because he is talented and I expected a lot more from. The other two that will join this category are Chamakh and Squilacci as both will never be quality players in their role.

Chamakh cannot shoot and you cannot teach a decent quality striker that and Squilacci is passed the stage for learning. I would suggest that these two are immediately sold together with the other and I will suggest a few replacements cos I do not think we are in dire need of a lot of players.

First we need an experienced keeper to join our fold in replacement of Almunia, Scott Parker for Denilson and any other tall black player to replace Diaby. This would add some steel to the midfield. I would leave Frimpong to go through the ropes as his counterparts are not lighting up the Championship. Otherwise, get back Flamini.

In place of Squillacci, get another Englishman like Cahill, the team needs some English blood to bring in that fighting spirit. You could throw in Samba for his height and strenght. In place of Arshavin, I would bring in a proper winger that can use his left foot, a friend suggested Nzogbia, I would think Hazard but I am tempted to suggest Ashley young as that would make a deadly combination with Walcott on the other hand. Plus in times of either party being injured, the other would be a viable alternative.

I would replace Bendtner with Drogba, yes Drogba for the next 2 years. I would look to the future with Falcao as I would also let Vela go. He has not made th impact at West Brom.That leaves me potentially with Van Persie, Drogba and Falcao as my 3 strikers.

For me, these purchases will not affect our bank balance as there would be enough money from the sale of the lots above. I would add that if either Clichy or Gibbs is going, I will sign Leighton Baines to replace both of them.

In all, I prefer players that are already in the English league and a few English players. We have too many foreign players not that I care much as a foreigner. In Arsenal though, we need a fine mix. And of course, the younger ones can come through.

Mark my words, make these suggested changes and we will win at least 1 cup if not a treble. We need proven scorers if you ask as attack is the best form of defence. I am dissapointed period and this is compounded by the boring months ahead with no sport and the speculation with our players.

6. Qudzy - 17 May, 2011


7. Kyle Bartley - 17 May, 2011


JUST GET OUT, i hope wenger sells you

8. Sebastian More-Sqillachi - 17 May, 2011

haha no kyle, im on a bigger contact than you’ll ever get, jog on boyo

9. lgooner - 17 May, 2011

Every one has an opinion me i think wenger won’t change he sulked when press asked questions to close to home so the crowd booing wont make him change,as someone hoo has seen it all before i have to say wat was happening sunday the march booing chanting is the beginning of the end for wenger it takes a lot for arsenal fans to turn but when they do thats it.

10. Steve Bould - 17 May, 2011

Pack it in both of you, Arsene’s asked me to put on my boots for next season becasue your both p**s poor.

11. bob mcnabs cat - 17 May, 2011

if ever you needed proof that us arsenal fans are getting spoon fed lie after lie after lie you got at the emirates on sunday. the matchday announcer loudly proclaimed the attendance as 60k. get real! there was barely 50k and arsenal should get used to it because there are only so many mugs that are prepared to pay good money to watch crap week after week. There was life at Arsenal long before wenger turned up on the scene and there will be life long after he has gone. Its a shame the kids following today have no idea or sense of history, for it is them that spout the now tiresome “in arsene we trust”.
Wenger, collect your coat!

12. Arsene - 17 May, 2011

A’ve I pulled? I hope you have desire, efficiency, and a strong mental strength!

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