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September 2020
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I’ve got my Arsenal back

By Tony Attwood

This is another article that would normally appear on Untold but can’t for technical reasons.   Being the Easter weekend I am not sure how long it will take to do anything about Untold’s latest problems, but do keep an eye on these pages…

I never quite understood the “I want my Arsenal back” campaign, beause I never fully understood what Arsenal it was that was thought to have gone missing.

Did the people who held up these banners mean, “I want to go back to the days of Thierry Henry and co, and have unbeaten seasons…”   If so, a nice thought but utterly unrealistic, given that after the triumphs of Wenger’s Arsenal, the New Chelsea and New Man City were created.

Or did they mean going back to an earlier time?  To the George Graham era perhaps in which although we won two superb championships, we also created the team with the lowest goal scoring record but best defence in the league.  Boring, boring Arsenal was not only boring but also dropped down below mid-table.

Or Terry Neil who gave us three consecutive cup finals, but only one victory (we lost to Ipswich and WHU in the other finals) and no league championships.  Or Bertie Mee who gave us our first European trophy, and the first double but then within four years had us flirting with the wrong end of the table.

Or Herbert Chapman who did indeed turn the whole club around, but who in order to win the FA Cup also had Arsenal close to relegation, and of course lost to Walsall of the Third Division North in his last ever FA Cup game.

My point is that I don’t know where this type of “I want my Arsenal back” stuff that was propogated last season, actually leads.

But on the other hand, in my own case, I do know what it means.  It means something very clear and important.  It means that the Arsenal in the stadium is an Arsenal made up primarily of people who support the team on the pitch.   People who have now found their voices.

Of course some of the whingers and moaners are still there, but they are outnumbered 100 to 1 but real supporters who are giving the club their all.  Supporters who have seen that the crisis facing the club is nothing to do with the management but is to do with a group of supporters who are carrying on the anti-Arsenal tradition that has been within the club since the very earliest days.

The Anti-Arsenal-Arsenal movement started in 1892 when a group of men who disliked the people who had founded and developed the Royal Arsenal club tried to throw out the solid working class foundations of the club and replace it by themselves.  Finding they could not win the votes by fair means they persuaded the owner of the club’s ground – the Invicta Ground – to increase the rent to unheard of levels, which they knew Royal Arsenal could not pay.  (The full story is reecorded in our book on Woolwich Arsenal, see below.)

Then when Arsenal moved they tried to buy Arsenal’s new ground, and force the club into bankruptcy.  That idea failed too.  So did their replacement club – Royal Ordnance Factories FC, which lasted just three years in the Southern League.

This anti-Arsenal approach was then adopted by “supporters” in the stadium, who forced the best goalkeeper Arsenal had so far had, out of the club, by their booing and jeering.

So it carried on through the years.  Even Chapman was not safe and he famously spoke out aainst them time and again in the press.

By 1953 it was so bad that members of the championship winning side spoke openly of Arsenal supporters being the worst in the country for the way they jeered their own team – even when heading for another league title.

And so it has gone on.  But now, after so much activity from their blogs and their allies in the press, the AAA in the stadium has been put down.  The atmosphere in the ground is so much better, and getting better all the time.

The return of real Arsenal support inside the ground has been led by the tremendous activities of the away support, and I think all of us who care about atmosphere will acknowledge that.

So as a result of everyone’s efforts I can say, yes, I have my Arsenal back.

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed history

 

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/#sthash.B08yTKWR.dpuf

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