To Banner or not to Banner? – That is the Arsenal Supporter Question


The famous Voltaire quote comes to mind (except it wasn’t Voltaire who said it) “I disagree with everything you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”.

The Banner Man has a view. He thinks Wenger should have moved on. That is his view. Others agree with him and others, me included, disagree with him.  But we all have a view and we all should express them. That is democracy. It makes life lively and interactive and even controversial and on occasions, sadly, confrontational.

But after 20 years in the job it is right to question whether he is still the man. I believe he is and express that view in a number of forums and some people like what I say and others dislike what I say. So let’s go easy on DT. Don’t go after him because you do not like what he says. Just get clear in your own mind why you think he is wrong and then respond. Get even not Angry.

I thought the reference to “Thanks for the Memories” was ungracious even rude but he was trying to get his point across with little space to play with and so went for the Bob Hope line.

This message is not about whether Wenger should go or not. It is about us and the team. Getting behind them and giving them full support. Managers can irritate. Friends can do the same and Bosses too. But we need tolerance and give and take and what I find so unpleasant is the sheer intolerance of it all. It is after all a game of football. There has been no car crash – no shootings – no evictions – no crime. There are things that should make you wild – a bully in the street, a racist at work or a fascist at a rally. Go for them. They are the worst – really the bottom of the barrel. But don’t mistake fellow supporters or opposing supporters for the real baddies.

The problem is that football is a game of great tension and physical contact. The mix is combustible but remember it is not about jobs or rights or life and death. And Yes Bill Shankly was wrong, perhaps amusing but still wrong when he suggested that football was more important than life or death. So let’s keep things in perspective. See the whole picture. Give an “importance rating” and then look at your family and your friends and say that going to war over a football is not the stuff of heroics. It is a great pastime but it does not pay the bills, it does not offer a holiday. It is an escape – a wonderful, important, significant escape but an escape all the same.

Wenger is unlikely to go and we need to ensure that the split over whether he stays or whether he goes does not create a fundamental fault line amongst us all. We are all on the same side



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7 Responses to To Banner or not to Banner? – That is the Arsenal Supporter Question

  1. Victor Thompson March 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    As always Graham, a measured and reasoned article. I am one of those who disagrees on Arsene but it is always a pleasure to debate with you.

    In regard to Shankly`s remark, had it not been so overstated it would not still be remembered now. He was a genius at making those sort of remarks because he shared the love for Liverpool that scousers have. The club is part of their family. That remark was aimed at them. They knew exactly what he meant. When I was young and he was in his prime I remember that his instruction to his right back Tommy Smith ( “The Anfield Iron” ) regarding marking the opposing winger was “I want to see how fast he can limp”.

    He is still grudgingly revered by all fans. Football was in his DNA and he was a working man`s manager. I have to admit that I sort of get the remark.

  2. Gambo March 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    If a man keeps repeating his old past mistake what do you take him for? A great man? or a failure?

  3. Peter Kemp March 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    The display of a banner of this sort during a match is totally inappropriate. Fine make your point after/ before match …. but NOT DURING THE MATCH, that is the time to fully support our Manager, staff and players. I am a Wenger fan, i travel overseas ALOT, and he is held in high regard, this helps enormously in signing new players. Also, tell me the replacements that would be better??

  4. Daniel Egwu March 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    This is exacly why Arsenal will not win any trophies under Arsene again. No doubt, Wenger will rate as one of the greatest managers the EPL has seen but as they say “iron sharpeneth iron” and suddenly every one at Arsenal is begining to buy the idea that Arsenal doesn’t have to win trophies. But how do we rank great teams? Why have we always resorted to reeling off the trophies Arsene won years ago?

    The plain fact is football is a COMPETITIVE sport where investors commit huge resources and we fans invest hope, time and resources supporting our teams. Based on the resources available to teams, their pedigree and quality of players the club can attract, tams are ranked. And based on these, Arsenal fans deserve better.

    We have softened and all we hear is what he has done for the club. Nobody talks about opportunities lost, the gradual descent of the club to also rans. The damage done to the Arsenal brand is huge and all because we want to please Wenger who has refused to see that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is foolhardy.

    Now what is the pronlem with Arsene? Do not be fooled by his hand wrenching bit as he watches his team grilled or his usual harassment of the assistant referees and mistake it for passion. The real issues are what he does to prepare his team for a hectic and gruelling season that sees his team play between 40-60 matches in a season. Will Arsene buy the right players? Will he buy complimentary players knowing that it is a long season? Will Arsene recognise that Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Kolscieny, Carzola, Arteta, Rosicky, Gibbs etc may only play one quarter of matches in a season? Will he be ambitious/courageous enough to cut his losses and move on as in the cases of Diaby, Rosicky, Arteta, Sanogo, Bendtner etc? Is it not shameful hearing him reel off the names of Messi, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Hazard, Kompany etc as some of the players he could have signed but lost out because of his penny pinching attributes. Why is it that year in and year out we experience the usual Arsenal collapse? How are we sure it won’t happen again next season because Wenger has never learnt and will never learn from his mistakes. Why is it that Arsenal is one or two players away from winning the title? How we all begged him to bring in players this outgoing season and his usual sturbon response that there are no better players than his Arsenal players. But we all lknow that Wenger only listens to homsely even when well trusted proteges of his advice him.

    Let me be a prophet for next season. Wenger will promise to buy players and by the time the season begins he may probably buy 3 u-16 players and an attacking senior player. Thhe season kicks off and one or two of his key players is injured on the eve of the season opener. Then he will lose to Chelsea, Swansea, Southanton,, come second in the chamions league qualifier and crash out in the second round. By the time December looms, Ozil, Sanchez, Carzola and Coquelin will be so fagged out from playing all the matches that team quality drops. The the Gibbs, Chambers, Flamini (yes Flamini) will come in as replacements. And the quality further drops

    By Insisting on his philosophy and rigid principles of over twenty years ago, Arsenal is run backwards rather than adapting to innovations and fresh thinlking and this makes us come short.

    This is a rather painful piece to write considering what Arsene has done but it is even more painful that a brand he built and with the cult followership he has carved out, he has allowed his arrogance and rigid ways to destroy. We are losing the Club pedigree and sadly also the legend that moulded it.


  5. Johnny Daniels March 10, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

    Typical abnoxious nonsense being spouted by an AKB, the banner was neither ungracious or rude, it was appreciative of the past and polite. Some want the manager gone and are entitled to express their view, it’s ok when someone holds up one of those embarrassing in arsene we trusts banners which I find negative in itself. Negative because they show support to a manager that’s not taking the club forward. It was only banner, you and others like you need to get over yourselves! Wenger out!!!!

  6. TT March 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    I credit the people who banner with a rich imagination.

    These people have constructed an alternate reality, in their minds, where Arsenal win the league every year and win every game under a new manager.

    Historically, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Typically when a new manager comes into a club, there is a dip in performance before a slow climb to the top. That is if the manager is good.

    For most clubs, and the vast majority of managers the change makes little difference. The economic circumstance of the team and luck plays as big a part as any.

    Does anyone think that if Vardy and Mahrez had been injured in the first 3 weeks of the season Leicester would be where they are today?

    People are on here writing that Arsenal will never win a trophy under Wenger again. Like we didn’t win the FA cup last year, and the year before.

    I’m not sure if Wenger is the right man to be in charge of Arsenal still, but I am damn sure that the fans with the banners don’t have any clue in that regard either.

  7. Graham Perry March 10, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    Again I say it is perfectly valid for committed supporters to hold contrary views about Wenger but so often contributors let themselves down and get unpleasant and provocative. Both sides – pro Wenger and anti-Wenger need to respect the opposite view. I am pro-Wenger but fully aware of the reasons advanced for him to go but I do not have to mock the other side and they should not mock me – and it goes for all of us. When we run out of reason and become unpleasant it usually means your argument is running out of steam.

    So as one who wants Wenger to stay let me give the arguments for him to go – inadequate signings this season, tolerating poor players too long, unimaginative with tactics, failure to provide leadership on the pitch, too much power due to an absentee owner.
    People who believe this should be allowed to make their case but they have to do it sensibly and constructively and those who disagree have to do the same. Both sides need to play fair.

    Am I boring? You are entitled to think that but I am saying that we need to respect each other. Maybe it is social media and phone-ins that shapes the conduct of the debate. OK but be alert to it and get your balance right. Remember we are all Arsenal fans

    Arsenal Circular

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