George Graham once famously said about the treatment of Arsenal Football Club from the Press, the FA and supposed experts, “It’s fine that people hate us, it’s part of our history.”
And in recent weeks, there has been tangible proof in that bias.
Firstly, the FA charged Arsenal with failing to control their players in our tense 0-0 draw with Newcastle – when we were denied an obvious penalty and our players crowded the referee.
Newcastle avoided punishment, despite continuously harnessing time-wasting tactics during the game and also haranguing the referee for decisions.
Then, we were charged by the FA for failing to conduct ourselves in a proper manner during our 3-0 FA Cup win over Oxford Utd.
And now I see that Oleksandyr Zinchenko received a warning for his overtly displays of passion during our 2-1 win over Fulham.
And that last one especially is a complete travesty.
Our club has finally united all parts after years of segmentation, under-enthusiasm and poor quality from all sides. The stands, the players, the manager – we are all on the same track and you can feel how much everyone wants to do something special.
Can we deny we pestered the referee for a spot kick against Newcastle?
Can we also say we didn’t bother the ref when we played Oxford Utd?
But can any other club say they don’t do that every week? If you watch a match in its entirety, during the game, when a contentious decision comes up, players on the pitch surround the ref to make him see some sense.
And it’s rarely called up. Just look at the recent Manc derby, both sides harangued and surrounded the red for decisions.
So for our club to face two potential fines for the same behaviour is a little vexing.
Where’s the balanced playing field? We just want to be treated in the same manner as all other clubs. And at this moment, we’re not.
And the bandwagon for highlighting Arteta’s gesticulations on the sidelines as a stick to bash him with continues to rumble on, despite it being led by a football presenter who got elbowed from his biggest job for being a knuckle-dragging sexist.
And this may have tampered with the decision to hand Zinchenko a warning for his fist pumps, screaming and delight after his new club somehow found a way to win in a desperate game where we had our backs to the wall for much of the second half.
Brentford, after their victory over Liverpool earlier this season – and after every home victory – celebrate with their fans by dancing and embracing, singing songs, fist-pumping etc.
Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Utd – they have all had moments where their players were overcome with joy after netting a late winner or grabbing a win that seemed to be passing them by.
And it’s never highlighted by anyone in the papers, websites or on TV.
So are the FA saying we show more passion that any other player or club?
How does a player get a warning for showing too much passion?
And is there a precedence?
We can see that there is an unhealthy contingent who find the idea of Arsenal prospering, abhorrent. And any s$*t-flinging they can muster they will do so, to cast aspersions our way – instead of everyone focusing on the utter transformation our club ha undergone in the last 2-3 years.
This won’t be the last charge for us – and it won’t be the last time our players are pilloried and lambasted for making public their affection of the club and for getting a win to give us fans a smile.
It started when it was decided that taking shirts off in celebration of a goal was deemed a yellow card offence.
Now the fun police are looming over players connecting with the fanbase through mutual joy and passion.
But we are The Arsenal.
We’re used to it.
Yeah, GG had it right didn’t he! 2 points were deducted for the brawl with Man U in 90/91, and they only had one taken off, but we still won the PL with the supporters singing “you can stick your two points up your arse”.
Nothing changes, even though the media can’t get enough of us right now, the FA & PL will still find a way to shoot us down.
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