“Headphones” – the wearing of such evades Arsenal’s true issues.
It was interesting to see some points made by the Arsenal Supporters Alliance the other day.
In their welcome to new head coach, Mikel Arteta, they were offering suggestions going forward, specifically on player conduct.
Some points were that players shouldn’t wear headphones whilst entering the changing room or the stadium.
Some of the other points were reasonable – such as applauding all sides of the ground and a genuine engagement with supporters.
But the headphones one was….well for me off the wall a bit.
This may seem like a snarky point – and it is a bit terse in parts.
But mainly since in my view, it is an unnecessary point in an otherwise well-framed welcoming piece.
I get why fans demand a better attitude from our players.
We all see it – our side has over several years been slack and lax.
But then assuming that wearing headphones is a symptom or cause of this is inane at best.
This is, arguably, Liverpool’s best player. He is wearing headphones, and Liverpool is hardly a rubbish team currently.
This player is one of the best of all-time. He is still scoring goals at Juventus, and wearing headphones hasn’t hindered him.
It’s a common practice around the world. Maybe it’s for style – or just to relax pre-match. Even in our “normal” jobs, we often have routines that we do pre-shift start. Whether eating food or smoking a cigarette or what have you.
It’s a stretch to suggest that headphones affect attitude or performances.
They clearly don’t with Salah, who has won two Golden Boots on the bounce, is a European champion and a recent World Club champion. What about somebody who has won the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the European Championships, and multiple Champions Leagues and Ballon D’or?
It’s a trend not just at Arsenal – but amongst many clubs around the world.
I guess what bothers me about this is that the critique is not only unfair but myopic.
It doesn’t note the fuller picture.
Basic logic states that headphones haven’t dimmed Mohamed Salah’s attitude since he joined Liverpool. Nor Leroy Sane’s at Manchester City.
It clearly is an Arsenal-specific problem.
And it’s a problem which emerged under Wenger, and which Emery to his detriment couldn’t solve. It’s now up to Arteta to solve, and we all wish him the best in tackling it.
Wearing headphones doesn’t undermine our midfield balance. Or crap defending. Or some crap signings we’ve made over the years – like Mustafi and Luiz.
I get the rationale behind the entire point. About instilling a new attitude and professionalism.
But Liverpool is European and World champions, and I doubt Klopp will tell his players to stop using headphones any time soon.
Why would Arsenal players be the odd ones out?
It won’t be a sound move, considering our squad morale and confidence cannot be at the highest state.
Arteta is looking to gain the trust and support of people under him. And this isn’t the best way to get this.
The real problem
The real issue here is KSE or our father/son duo at the reins.
Going on about “headphones” is one thing. But KSE has presided over a decade of stagnation, regression, and failure. Their bad decisions, which they have presided over for a while, have seen us descend from being a regular Champions League club to Europa League mainstays. And now mid-table fodder.
Yes, they didn’t sign players. Wenger and Emery did that, as would Sanhelli and Edu now. Nor did they coach them – this was the job of Wenger, Emery, Freddie and now Arteta.
But as owners, it’s their job to ensure a sound strategy, and they haven’t done that. As with any business, the owner is ultimately responsible for how it operates, good or bad. If I bought a local corner shop and got an experienced retailer to run it, and I released after a while that the stores were being pilfered. Or that people were shoplifting to the extent that sales weren’t at their optimum. I would be responsible – I would have to get an alarm and a CCTV camera at the stockroom, and maybe fire the person running the store. A business owner must ensure that the firm is operating to its optimum, and KSE has NOT done this.
Citing points like headphones is petty, and our energy should be directed towards those who have overseen and permitted our decline. And what’s more, are ultimately responsible for reversing it.
This point also isn’t to condemn the Arsenal Supporters Alliance – they are entitled to their views after all. But we as fans know what the issue is – or who to be more specific. Let’s focus our efforts on the “who” and not stuff like wearing headphones.
If we win the Europa League this season, and our players are wearing headphones in the pre-match build-up, it shouldn’t really matter. But if we do win it, even amongst the euphoria, we need to not take our eye off the ball when needed.
MarbleHallsTV is an Arsenal social media account on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Been a Gooner since the 90s, inspired by Ian Wright, then Bergkamp, Vieira, Henry, Pires, Campbell, Rosicky, Koscielny, Ozil and Sanchez. A digital marketer/entrpreneur by profession, born in UK living in the Americas now.