The last few weeks have given Arsenal fans an opportunity to reflect on what is happening at the club.
We had a positive summer, brought in Pepe, Ceballos, Luiz and Tierney, and expectations were high. But we’re 10 games into the new season and even well before this point, the vultures (myself included) have called for Unai Emery to be sacked.
I have been vocal in saying that Emery should leave Arsenal. But that’s because I believe that he is struggling at the club and isn’t the right man to take Arsenal forward.
And in saying that, I haven’t been involved in broadcasting any personal abuse or attacks, or left any disgusting comments on the social media profiles of our players or manager.
There is a distinct difference between criticising a manager and player for under performing and not being at the required level, and that is what I have always done. But it’s another thing sending horrible, personal and disgusting abuse to them online – and there is a section of our fanbase who do just that.
But even though I’m not involved in any of the horrendous abuse both Emery and Xhaka have received, I still need to look at myself.
This is what I posted on Twitter last summer, when Arsene Wenger left the club and we brought in Unai Emery:
If Arsenal fans don’t give Unai Emery at least 2 seasons before criticising him, then they aren’t true Arsenal supporters:https://t.co/Qg467noNDC pic.twitter.com/X3pkZLv8sG— Mike (@afc4life_uk) June 6, 2018
What has happened to me?
When I wrote that status, my mind was clear. Arsene Wenger had left Arsenal and it was simple common sense that a new manager, whoever that was going to be, would need time to put his own stamp on the club and implement change. So why, barely after one season have I changed my opinion?
Should I get my act together and stand by my previous convictions?
In Emery’s latest press conference, it was difficult to watch. Here was a person talking about the Wolves match, who also talked about trying his best to get the team to play well and win back the support of the stadium.
And I think the big lesson Arsenal fans need to take away from the last month or so is that the manager, players and staff at the club are all human beings. There is no excuse to leave abuse online to anyone, whether they’re in football or not. We have become so used to social media that some people think it’s okay to send disgusting or vile comments online.
I’ve looked through the comments on Unai Emery’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, and the comments left on there are shameful. The same goes for the comments left on Granit Xhaka’s Instagram page. We all know Mustafi switched off comments on his Instagram page because all he was receiving was constant abuse.Paragraph
I think Arsenal fans have forgotten that we should support our team through thick and thin. The instant nature of Arsenal news and opinion has skewed the whole landscape.
Do you think fan favourites such as David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, etc. never had a bad game?
People will remember that Tony Adams had all kinds of issues in the early nineties – imagine what his situation would have been like if there had been social media around? I would hazard a guess that he wouldn’t have come back like he did and win a further 2 Premier League titles and 2 FA Cups. In today’s society, he would have been abused, there’s no doubt about it.
And what about David Seaman? How would have fans reacted online to his mistake in the Cup Winners Cup final in 1995? He would have been vilified like Loris Karius was after his mistakes in a European final. And look where he is now, he was quickly shipped out of Liverpool and that mistake has defined his career.
We all need to think about social media in a more considered light and take a look at ourselves when using it. For Arsenal, there is a bigger picture and we should all be coming together to support the team and the club.