Prepare to be brainwashed.

“Crisis. There is a crisis. There is a crisis..

Afternoon folks.

Apologies for the lack of a match report yesterday. Things kinda caught up with me, and the time allotted for blogging quickly vanished. Such is the tumultuous road I traverse at present.

Compared to the level of dismay this time last week,  it’s a much brighter Monday. The performance at Fulham was solid, professional and richly deserving of those scrumptious 3 points we came away with. Up front, Giroud and Podolski got amongst the goals and it was really good to see the latter contribute 2 very well taken strikes.

With tomorrow’s qualifier against Fenerbahce nothing more than (hopefully) a formality, the next 7 days are crucial to how our season pans out. Spurs on Sunday is a huge fixture, and between now and kick-off time, we’d hope to see a few new additions to the squad. Arsene has stated there is a frenzy of activity behind the secnes. The rumours mill, if you choose to believe such a thing, has Arsenal linked to a plethora of intriguing characters – Mesut Ozil (please let that be true) being the latest name to be tossed around.

There have been some interesting qoutes from Arsene regarding how the media “brainwash” the fans regarding times of crisis. In the Mirror, he said:

The media in general has brainwashed a little bit the Emirates. Maybe rightly so, I don’t know, because we haven’t won trophies for years everything is negative.

But we have to live with that and focus on playing well football. People always want news. We live in a world which is very interesting but very excessive.

When people are not loyal, you are critical. When people are loyal, you say they have been there too long. It’s always excessive reaction. The people in charge need to keep their distance from that more than ever.

Someone told me I have had 956 games for Arsenal. I care about this club and when we had last week’s result I was deeply disappointed. This is not a personal trip. This is about doing things well for the club I love and I am happy we are back on track.”

I totally agree there is too much excess. Opinions of fans can violently switch between polar opposites on a weekly basis. One moment we can be buoyed by a superb result, the next all things are set to implode under the strain of fantastic amounts of rage and displeasure.

The same applies to us bloggers. Like the media, some of the more hit-savvy amongst us know that wild speculation and anger attracts clicks immeasurably more than attempts at being rational. I’ve noticed myself recently that my daily visitors can treble on the back of something bad happening.

And I agree when Arsene says a distance is needed. I credit you, the delicious reader, with coming here on a daily basis to read what is essentially just the opinion of one fan – silly ol’ me. I try not to be bombastic and overly positive, as I’m not that type of fellow. The same applies to uncontrollable bouts of rage. I’m an Arsenal fan, and a human being; I react accordingly.

The point is this (if there actually is one…): Sometimes it’s best to stay away from too much exposure to social media. There are some truly wonderful writers out there in the Goonersphere, folks who serve up witty, informative, well-thought stuff on a regular basis. However, the good can be overwhelmed by the truly f**king dreadful (*coughs* Caught Offside) – sites that want to twist and distort news to serve their own petty agendas. They know full well they can exploit the rabid hunger for something, anything in the way of an update.

Every so often, I’ll take a break from reading anything at all. Before I write a post, I make a point of steering clear of all the other blogs (I only read 3). Detachment from all the views and thoughts fizzing about in cyberspace is absolutely vital, in my opinion, if you want to remain your own voice.

Doing so enables me to feel confident what I write is mine, and mine alone. You may not agree with my opinions, and that’s perfectly fine with me. You may think I’m a curious dandy with a ridiculous haircut, and you’d probably be right. Those things do not matter. What I consider of paramount importance is that this blog be my thoughts, and not homogenous regurgitation of something you’ve read elsewhere becuase it will get attention.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this….

I guess it’s time to finish up. As I usually send you towards the comments with a question; who do you rate as the most important Arsenal bloggers? Don’t think of that question as me fishing for compliments, as I don’t consider myself to be important. I don’t have any of the insider knowledge or experience of others.  My knowledge of the Board and Arsenal’s finances is pathetically limited. That’s a fact. I’m whimsical and foolish, and proud of it.

I ask merely because I’m intrigued to know the views of the folks who read here, and because I’d like to read more than 3 blogs from time to time. So… Let me know what you think.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

32 Comments

  1. lance

    wenger may sign cabaye and then say he tried for other players but the market was bad.dont take anything positive
    from the fulham game this is the 5th game in a row fulham
    has lost at home….another season for wenger to pocket his fat cheque….

    Reply
  2. LeBigMac

    Unfortunately the media is a totally fickle and reactionary outlet for news and bad news sells. I too agree with the excess that Wenger spoke of and to be honest, I don’t read the papers and take all the news on transfers with a pinch of salt. However, it doesn’t stop me having an opinion and getting frustrated but I am far from the polar swings you talk of. I cannot really get onside with those who vent their spleen and the slightest opportunity. I have friends who call for Wenger to go but to what end. There are only a few managers that can take the club forward and if they are any good they are already employed. Changing a manager is not a knee jerk reaction. If it is, the club suffers as we have seen over the years with other outfits.
    Anyway, kind of rambling there, so to that end until things can be improved with a sensible change of direction, there is no point in rocking the boat too much I feel….
    Blogs I read:
    1 This one
    2 Angry of Islington (very quiet at moment)
    3 A Cultured Left Foot (quite sensible and grown up)
    4 Le Grove (sometimes his extreme views wind me up but then thats is maybe what he is after)

    SO
    Tied 1&2 is you and ACLF – I always look for these two first,
    then 3rd is AoF followed by Le Grove.
    The rest of which I have either not discovered yet or they p@*s me off so much I don’t go back.

    Reply
  3. DumZA

    Bloody good one Jamie. Enjoyed it. Arsene makes a good point, about the constant shifting from the positive to the negative. All Goonerland citizens need to reinforce their faith and support, and this should not be based only on the team signing an arsenal of new recruits within this week. We need objective writing from your lot Jamie, as stock-in-trade. good one.

    Reply
  4. lance

    is anyone convinced with ramsey????. lots of talk about him
    being excellent for us. i still think he is a failure…..

    Reply
    1. Clarky

      Oh yeah 8 years without a trophy and we’ve been brainwashed by the media into thinking we’re bad. More spin. Take a look at the threadbare squad Wenger. If we don’t sign at least 3 quality players by next week (..which we obviously won’t) then someone has to be accountable for it. Simple as that

      Reply
      1. gee

        what about 8 yrs in the best stadium in london, some of the best football in london on display, some of the best players in the world to play on that pitch, a few cup finals inc champs lg and a couple of times being top of the league in march only to run outta steam and players. also in 16-17 yrs fluctuating between 4 places at the top of one of the best leagues in the world! NAH forget all that your right we are shit!

        Reply
  5. Darren

    I don’t think any specific blog is very “important”. I enjoy reading:
    Armchair Gooner
    Arseblog
    A Cultured Left Foot
    Woolwich Arsenal
    Le Grove
    Campus Gooner (like me, posts sporadically)

    I’m interested to know which 3 you read?

    Reply
  6. Seaver

    I too am not entirely sold on Ramsey just yet. He had a decent run in last year only because he was all we had. The same could be said this year, and I imagine if we were to buy another midfielder he would be the first to be replaced. That doesnt mean I dont rate him, I still think he is doing a great job this season, I just dont see it lasting .

    As for the blogs I read

    Daily:
    Arseblog – I think the fact that he provides an entertaining read every single day is admirable. Views are in line with what I personally believe is the current state of the club. Plus I like the “news” section.

    Le Grove – I like his writing style and injects some humor when needed

    Occasionally :

    This one only because I tend to read the others first thing in the morning and if I have time later in the day I come to this one

    GoonerBoy – sporadic posts, and usually only after a game.

    you never mentioned which ones you read?

    Reply
  7. g clarke

    Wenger was wrong to say the arsenal fans were brainwashed reading these comments there is no brain to be washed

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      Wow. I see what you did there. Awesome…

      Reply
  8. Giddy

    If we fail to add to the squad, i won’t be surprised if our title chase is over be4 December and i don’t know where this will leave wenger and those who still want us to believe in him! someone should save this comment!

    Reply
  9. James 'Raul' Stokes

    The 3 I read are Arseblog, Le Grove and North London is Red.

    4, actually – I like Dyllan Munro’s Goonertastic, as well.

    Reply
  10. Rich

    It took me about 4 years before I had narrowed my daily gooner thirst to 4 blogs. There are more out there that are good but the ones I read regularly are Arseblog (best day being the always interesting and funny Arsecast on the Friday!), ACLF, Armchair Gooner and sometimes the Marble Halls. Oh, but due to one of the arsecasts, I was introduced to goonerblog so thats one I keep an eye on now too.

    Interestingly, although it has taken me sometime to filter out the HITME blogs, the reality is they were indeed filtered. Over time, you begin to get a feel for this stuff and lose faith or interest in repeated headlines trying to suck you in. I reckon there is a limited lifespan to them as eventually, most will see them for what they are…

    Always a pleasure to read/listen to you! Please keep it coming!
    Rich

    Reply
  11. reallycrossross

    Daily read: Arseblog and Untold Arsenal.

    Always checking in with LadyArse!

    Skim read LeGrove to know what the AAA have to say. To be honest, you don’t need a very big reading age to get what abuse he’s chucking out!

    O and the Beautiful Bastard that is The Armchair Gooner!

    Reply
  12. Spec

    Daily read: you beautiful bastard, arseblog, LG, occasionally ACLF. Then always watch out for Desi gunners thoughts on starting eleven and his match thoughts and individual analysis. Insightful stuff IMHO.

    Reply
  13. Nick

    Respect to you my friend.

    I try and avoid general football sites and in my opinion, ‘caught offside’ has been caught offside too many times! I feel they are not alone! I read your article as I was interested to hear opinions on an interesting topic. I still have confidence in Arsene but I also feel that Arsenal failed in their public relations!

    Reply
  14. shooy

    There are no “important” bloggers. As you seem to be suggesting, blogs are each just the opinions of one fan or small groups of like minded malcontents or sycophants pushing particular agendas. By the nature of social media bloggers tend to be the most outspoken, egotistical and bombastic of people with no particular insight. They also tend to feed off of each other, building to a crescendo of polarised hysteria.Take them for what they are, treat them as unimportant entertainment and generally you can’t go far wrong.

    Reply
  15. WrongFootPele

    This is one of my favorite blogs, if only because you call me beautiful every single day and that makes me feel special. Of course, you also call me a bastard every day but I choose to focus on the positive.

    Besides the biggies that others have mentioned (Arseblog, LeGrove, etc…) I really enjoy Poznan in my Pants. He doesn’t post all that often but it’s usually top notch when he does.

    I also enjoy GunnersTown and Goonersphere – they both feature a variety of writers who cover interesting Arsenal-related topics. And I really like Haley Wright’s Diary of a Season vlog on YouTube, too.

    Reply
  16. Arsenal1Again

    Untold Arsenal have been up the top for years but guest writers have really dragged the quality down. It seems now just a clique with the whole of Arsenaldom being divided into two camps, them and the “so called arsenal fans” who criticise an aspect of the club. If you are of the latter half like I am from time to time like any Arsenal fan would be then forget it. They focus more on judging other fans than they do on the club, it gets monotonous after a while. Look at the comments under any article and decide for yourself what the main focus is for Camp Untold Arsenal. There is also a lot of OCD going on with Ref statistics and other things which can be blamed for poor performances from the Manager and team.

    Arseblog are pretty fair and balanced, I like Armchair because you’re a genuine Arsenal fan with an opinion i usually agree with plus you write more fluently than any other blogger I’ve seen. You write for a living and so you should be. Le Grove are good too. Until the transfer window closes there is not much chance of finding a decent article about Arsenal FC and our team performances, so roll on September 2.

    .

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      I’m actually a Chef by trade. I’d love to write for a living, though.

      Reply
  17. Jp

    The saga continues…Mertesaker or Giroud go down we are in trouble. We need quality back up……we will be in trouble in a few months when key injuries take toll…… Sign somebody……….

    Reply
  18. Troy Joyner

    We all want ‘top’ signings and I feel they will come. We need quality & experience to add to the inexperienced (trophy winning players) that we already have. Everyone has their own opinion of who they want but, for me just 3 quality players will make me happy who know what it takes to win something. That is all we lack, get this and watch the young ones grow into really great players & then we will become a feared team. Another thought on the trophy front is this, it is good to win trophy’s but not the be all and end all. The team play very good football & all it takes is that one bad game in a cup match to end it. There are just 4 trophy’s to aim for in reality. As long as we continue to play the good football we do, I will never moan at the players or manager (abebayor & Arshavin) apart as they both never tried in matches, as this team are my team forever.

    Reply
  19. Andy

    Two things we lack!
    1. Potency in front of goal!
    2. We lack the scare factor – Teams used to look at the fixtures and think shot when do we face Arsenal now they look and think good day out to go and have a go in a brilliant stadium – BRing back some steel and then let the flamboyance do the rest

    Reply
  20. mav361

    Not trying to blow smoke up your arse James but “The Armchair Gooner” is the only site I visit every day can’t really think of any particular reason why, but somehow you seem to be able to capture my mood perfectly I imagine when the lads have lost you go around saying FUCK under your breath rather a lot and when they win you run around like a pubescent teenager whose just discovered wanking and can’t keep the shit eating grin off your face

    I also read “Wrong Foot Pele” whenever i can as he seems to feel the pain of being a Gooner even tho he’s 8000 miles away

    I sometimes read “Le Grove” as i agree with a lot of the things he has to say but i dont tend to read the comments section as there really are some Glass Half Empty Fuckers on there who really do need to chill out a bit

    Reply
    1. WrongFootPele

      Thanks a lot. I really appreciate hearing that. And I agree with your thoughts on James’ blog. Usually seems to match up to what I’m thinking.

      Reply
  21. Damilarey

    Pedro from “Le grove”

    Reply
  22. Tangent

    If my boss knew how many Arsenal blogs I read daily on company time, I’d have real problems.

    I think Arseblog, Le Grove, and ACLF are probably the ‘most important’ in shaping opinion. There are other blogs which offer really interesting content which is often specialized.

    Untold has their ref review, 7AM Kickoff has fascinating statistical analysis (and the newer ‘Rouges Gallery’ pieces, Swiss Ramble does the financial angle brilliantly, Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth for development and acadamy news and Anger of Islington is good for shareholder issues.

    There are other good opinion blogs which are less specialized and cater to particular perspectives or fan segments which I enjoy as well that I’m too lazy to list.

    If you want to find where the evil lurks and the real doom and gloom merchants hustle their wares, or just want to feel true sporting despair, refresh on #Arsenal for an hour or two.

    Reply
  23. Oldchap

    I have been visiting your site since it was recomended on Legrove I think, so to answer your question Legrove , A Cultured Left Foot, Arseblog and your goodself

    Reply
  24. optimist habila

    Frankly, l trust your analyses than the others. I find this the most objective. After reading all the day’s lies and hate write ups l usually end it with yours. I like the balance. Just let me state that one of the things that make football more interesting is the varied views and the sentiments. They all make up football.

    Reply
  25. GunnerInTheJ

    Keep up the good work! Definitely get my Armchair reading in as often as possible.

    I also follow Arseblog like most, I quite like 7amkickoff (Today’s post was quite a fun read) and Arse2Mouse

    Reply
  26. Omar

    I read 3: Arseblog, Le Grove and Armchair Gooner. I find it a decent balance seeing as all three are a bit different and give me something different to think about most days.

    Arseblog is the authoritative voice of reason in the Arsenal community, usually very balanced and extremely well written – which is appreciated.

    Le Grove is the most interesting in terms of viewpoint but the worst of the three in terms of quality of writing. I like Pedro’s ideas, and I do buy into his inside source due to his status in the blogging game, but let’s face it he’s never spelt Szczesny correctly in his life.

    Armchair Gooner is sympathetic because of the conversational nature of the blog, it’s very emotive and really does capture the mood of the average fan. Your writing’s good, if you had a bigger platform you could probably hack it as a pro.

    A special word must go to The Marble Halls, an now dead blog which was my undoubted favourite for years. Marble’s stopped writing, unfortunately, but his memory lives on as the best in my eyes.

    Reply
  27. moosius_maximus

    Arseblog – just because it has all the news. Also the tim stillman columns are great.
    Arse2Mouse (after games)
    You – perspective before bed
    The silly season blog – found it in one of arseblogs posts, it’s brilliant

    Reply

Leave a comment. Go on, you know you wanna...