Are Arsenal The Most Hated Team In The League?

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Apr 19th, 2013

Football is loved worldwide for a number of reasons but I think the biggest reason is its ability to evoke emotion. I usually feel a multitude of emotions when I watch Arsenal but for the past few weeks I have found that the dominant emotion has been anger.

Unlike some of my frothy-mouthed fellow supporters I haven’t been angry about team selection, tactics or the inclusion of Gervinho/Ramsey/Mertesacker or league position. No, I have been getting increasingly angry when watching Arsenal due to the commentary.

So-called experts, pundits, commentators and co-commentators seem to derive pleasure from criticising Arsenal at every given opportunity and are always looking for ways to fault Arsenal.

Of all the teams that are considered “big” Arsenal seem to be the only club that suffers from unrelenting criticism. I don’t classify all of these teams as “big” but the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool all seem to garner praise from the press and TV pundits regardless of their actions whereas Arsenal it seems can do no right.


The cat speaks

Last Saturday, Tony Gale was the co-commentator for Arsenal’s match against Norwich and he revelled in disparaging Arsenal. Norwich could do no wrong and Arsenal could do no right. When tackles went in on an Arsenal player he claimed that Norwich was doing a great job at “getting” at Arsenal and he could see nothing wrong with the challenges. Within moments he would be scolding Arsenal for identical or lesser offences.  When Kei Kamara tripped over his own leg for the freekick that led to Norwich’s goal he called it a clear foul from Gibbs and took great delight from Norwich’s goal with a gleeful rant about Arsenal’s poor defending and how Arsenal can’t defend etc despite having one of the best defensive records in the league.

Later on in the same match when Giroud was brought down in the box for the equalising penalty he claimed that Giroud had gone to ground too easily and after the chance had gone. According to Tony Gale, there was nothing wrong with Giroud being pulled to the ground and the earlier penalty claim on Theo Walcott was rightly waved away despite it being a stonewall penalty. He spent the entire match making scathing remarks about Arsenal and making hypocritical comments about Arsenal’s tactics or fouls and even managed to taint the one good thing he said about Arsenal when Podolski scored by harping on about Theo being marginally offside in a match that was probably already won. He was even heard calling Bunn a professional for time-wasting. Classy Tony, classy.

The way Tony spews vitriol about Arsenal you would think he was turned down by them at some point and has a 40 year old axe to grind.

Despite Tony Gale being a regular fixture in the Arsenal-haters club it isn’t restricted just him. Former Arsenal player Brian Marwood built a reputation for praising opposition players for their physical play even when it amounted to blatant and brutal kicking. Marwood also revelled in labelling Arsenal players as cheats and divers even when replays showed crunching tackles.

Home of Durham & Robson

Home of Durham & Robson

The commentator on Tuesday night against Everton was just as bad. Everton played like Stoke in blue and committed foul after foul yet were praised by the commentary team for their physical play and aggression. I have no issue with physical football as long as it isn’t the only element of the game as it seems it was for Everton on Tuesday. The commentators seemed to enjoy the physical play however spoke of Arsenal with contempt when any challenges were made by a player in a red and white shirt. When Darron Gibson should have been sent off for body-slamming Theo Walcott they got stuck on the point that his first yellow was maybe a tad harsh. They completely overlooked that Gibson’s card was justified by his repeated fouling and the repeated fouling of his team and an example needed to be made. As a standalone incident his card probably was harsh but it wasn’t a standalone incident and his challenge on Theo should have been a second yellow card as a minimum.

Now, the choice to send Gibson off or not rested entirely with the referee so that’s not part of this rant but the commentators reaction to the challenge and praise of the referee for “balancing” things out was further cause for me to believe that Arsenal are in fact the most hated team in the world of TV punditry.

Arsenal suffer lashes from the tongues of many pundits and commentators from the universally hated Alan Hansen to the previously worshipped Paul Merson who has struggled to find a positive or decent thing to say about Arsenal for about 5 years. The ones the rankle the most are Tony Gale, Adrian Durham and Andy Townsend and pretty much everyone on ESPN or MOTD (bar Dixon and Keown) but none I feel beat our very own Stewart Robson. The man who was paid by own beloved club to tear chunks out of them on a weekly basis.

Thankfully we don’t have to put up with him on official club commentaries but the fact that we did and for such a long time still irks. For those unfamiliar with his work you may be shocked to know that he has been on national radio attacking Theo Walcott, not once but twice. The first time was in May of 2012 when he said, whilst still in the clubs employ that Theo was not a good footballer and again in January of this year when he said that Theo was overrated and that he doesn’t have a good understanding of the game.

What I say to Robson

What I say to Robson

Some people may say that these are fair criticisms, I would disagree but hey, that’s what opinions are for, but I would say that regardless of the fairness of these criticisms, a person in the employ of Arsenal Football Club should not be attacking players on national radio nor should they be using their Arsenal TV show to attack the players, the manager or the tactics without good cause

I don’t know where the hatred for Arsenal comes from but it isn’t anything new. For quite a few years Arsenal came under a lot of criticism for having a lot of foreign players and I always felt that Arsenal were targeted because of that and labelled as  a bunch of Euro-cheats, divers and weaklings. I just don’t understand why it is still happening with a team that boasts some of the best young British talent there is in Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson.

I don’t know what it is about us that causes almost every pundit on TV, radio or in the press to hate us but I do know that despite getting angry, I actually quite like it. I’ve come enjoy these commentary injustices that make me scream and shout because I know they’re wrong and biased and that means something. I’m not entirely sure what but I get an innate feeling that it is positive for Arsenal.

So Gale, Durham, Robson and your brethren of bile, hate on us all you like. We don’t care.

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

59 Responses to “Are Arsenal The Most Hated Team In The League?”

  1. max says:

    You need to win to be hated. Gale’s problem is with foreigners generally.

  2. joe says:

    You could add most of the ESPN FC press pass gang. headed by Andrew no nothing about football and Steve almost as bad no nothing about football.

  3. afc says:

    Its one of the main reasons i love arsenal. To be honest i think its got somthing to do with wenger being french. what else can it be?? or maybe the way we squeeze into the champs league every season no matter how bad are team is. but i have always felt arsenal are a little bit different from all the other teams in the league, in the way we conduct ourselves and the way we play.

  4. Top_Gooner says:

    It’s funny that you ended this the way you did only because just last weekend I was speaking with my brother (another gooner) about how I get this weird sense of pleasure from all the hatred by commentators. Only because it’s so obviously misplaced or rather irrational. It’s as if they don’t hear themselves when they make a contradiction in within 2 sentences. Theo was 20 yards away from the assistant referee when he should have been flagged for offside but how on earth could the assistant see that tug on Giroud from 40 yards away! Haha. Enjoyable.

  5. Martin says:

    If you really think about it you will see the common link between those people. Got it yet?

  6. Nir says:

    Thanks Daniel, very good read and totally true.
    So called pundits and biased commentators hate us because we are one of the richest club in the world ,because we were Invincible, But we are not from north that is where the FA cunts lives. Let them burn of Jealousy, and keep on supporting our beloved Arsenal!

  7. TC79 says:

    We have always been looked on as the top club of the south, so everyone in the North have always disliked us,and everyone in the South have envied us.
    Outside of England we are generally loved, due to our values and playing style.Im currently living in Brazil, and we have the strongest reputation of all English clubs here.
    To be honest, I quite like it, and makes it sweeter when we win, I view it as a back handed compliment.
    That said, I’ve been away from English commentary and Talk Sport for a while now, so I do understand when you’re coming from.
    Brian Clough even said, when we broke Nottingham Forests unbeaten run “it’s a great achievement,but sticks in the throat a bit,as its Arsenal,and everyone apart from Arsenal fans hates Arsenal” COYG.

  8. Washington Mutseneke says:

    i thought i was the only one observing all and those guys you have mentioned. I came to realise that probably we are the only team in england with the most disciplinary record in all categories, but still is not enough to convince me why we are the most hated team. But that makes me proud more. Some went on to mock us saying, ‘if you want to date men, date Arsenal Fans they have a lot of patience, etc.’ But let me tell them something, i dont care am proud of who we are and how we operate in and out of the pitch. So finally, let them keep their FCs and let me keep mine. gunner for life. Once again thank you for bringing up this issue.

  9. It makes no sense to me wen i hear dem rant rubbish abt my darling team…… Who cares? Arsenal fc is simply the best#fact

  10. Limassol_Gooner says:

    I always end up watching the Arsenal on mute. Can’t stand the negative comments and the treatment of our players is ridiculous at times. Such venom ! And of course thugs like Sir Alex or John Terry are the media darlings whatever their behavior is. It is racism no doubt. French manager, french players that those bullying commentators slate with each opportunity, F@ck you Lineker and hope you die of hard attack on St Totteringham’s day.

  11. Martin Harbury says:

    I have always seen it as a mix of jealousy and xenophobia. Just makes it all the sweeter every time we win.

  12. Monny says:

    well summarised mate,listening these so called experts cackling when making nonsense remarks about arsenal and Arsene wenger is the most annoying thing. Has anyone noticed conflict of interests on Match of the day after the Norwich game where David Moyes being a guest and Gary lineker tweeting being unhappy about the penalty decision during the day and acting as a neutral in the evening. I believe the reason could be seeing an intelligent Arsene wenger revolutionize the Premier league is hard to swallow for most of them as he is French man.

  13. Mart says:

    When i go to watch Arsenal Live, i watch and get behind the team, with no bias pundits in site!!! So if i cant go and have to watch the game on TV, i go to a pub that has little or no volume!! i watch a decided for myself!!! The best thing is to have your own opinion and never listen to all the MUG pundits on the TV They are a waist of space!!!! so let all the Arsenal fans stand together!!

  14. TwoGunz says:

    I thought I was the only 1 to notice this but spot on Daniel! Been wondering about this for some time, is it the French manager?

  15. paddlejack says:

    You’re right Daniel, there’s an anti arsenal mindset there! Like after the Wilshere-Mirallas incident the mirror genuinely reported “jack wilshere showed his ugly side after the Everton man squirted his water over his shoulder, happening to hit wilshere”

  16. francis njoku says:

    The hatred for Arsenal is a disease that has no cure .but it makes me love them more ,They say whatever they like and most times they go home sad and have sleepless nights

  17. Js says:

    Yes yes yes. I always thought it was a bit of a conspiracy that so many commentators/ pundits clearly slate arsenal while praising other teams hyper-critically… I put it down to Arsenal not spending big on players and greasing everyone’s palms in the process… Not since George Graham left that is!

    It’s so obvious that even the missus points out how much criticism arsenal and especially wenger gets compared to others…

  18. Slysoulman says:

    Xenophobia? Definitely. Jealousy? Certainly. This Frenchman manages Arsenal without spending like a moron, which their little brains believe is the only way to run a football club and be competitive these days. Yet he stays near the top of the EPL, within touching distance of Chelski. It’s a sticking of the finger at them and their bias is only expression for their impotent rage. Sometimes it irks but when neutrals point out their folly I am calmed. Up The Arsenal!

  19. Wasiu says:

    Remember last season when we beat the chavs 5-2 the commentator delighted himself by repeating the words ‘all too easy’ anytime they had the ball, it was so biased. Fortunately we shut him up with the scoreline

  20. MistaKen says:

    Not worth even talking about. So called pundits are rarely in tune with true football fans. Their comments are purely designed to promote themselves.

  21. GoonerX says:

    True words, I’ve taken to watching with the volume muted, Sometimes I even play music in the background.
    Cunts to a man, the lot of emm!

  22. cj-berlin says:

    so true all of them Arsenal haters, i sometimes watch Arsenal on mute becos of this crazy sensless comment

  23. Limpar's Wand says:

    I’ll tell you where it all comes from… our own fans 🙁

  24. El Tel says:

    I believe these pundits and the gutter press do influence the officials and even the FA.

    Arsenal have always been hated way before Wenger came. The real reason is because we are from London and the Leaguehas been Northern bias since its existence.

    We are a Club who have been hated because we are from London.

    We are the fourth richest Club in the world yet we have won nothing for years. Imagine how the Manc shitters would feel if we became successful. The Chavs won the CL yet still we are a bigger Club than them.

    We would be in my opinion up there with Madrid and Bayern as the biggest Club in the world if only our Directors showed a little more ambition.

    Moyes influenced the Referee we had against his team with his comments on MOTD after the Norwich match. How is this allowed?

    It does affect me seeing these idiots making outrageous bullshit statements about our Club which really does make a difference on the pitch.

  25. Giorgio Inzani says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you! Watching that Arsenal stream last week vs Norwich, I was just shouting “Tony Gale you d*ckhead!” for the majority of the match. He was so obviously and painfully bias, it actually made me cringe! He praised Norwich in the first half when they were constabntly on the back foot and looking vulnerable (although this couldn’t be said in the second), and iof giroud would have chokeslammed to the floor by the defender for the penalty, Gale would have still probably said he had gone down softly! Pathetic!

  26. me says:

    i mute ESPN for the game.has to be done.

  27. Ken says:

    Situation’s worse in Kenya. There’s one who slated us for daring to be happy when bale got injured. Another one who has a column in the paper has called us deluded just because we say we don’t miss rvp and that we deserved bottom half status. Another cunt wrote that the 02 on the jerseys (this was around 2006) represented our overall IQ. Sad thing is, these people are still allowed to work.

  28. The Cabbie says:

    Gale who

  29. lloyd says:

    Like you said bra, let them hate the mo-fos. We’ve got a lot of talent through and through. AW just needs to do right and get an enforcer, brake open the kitty and make sure the players get the stand by they need. We’re the fourth richest club and we’ve been trophyless for some time, thats why these hater hate!!!!!!!!!! LRD Goon!

  30. KLV says:

    Totally agree w the article. Also agree w some replies esp watching on tv with mute on, or extreme low volume. Remember Andy Gray? Thought he was the worst of the lot.

  31. Cupsui says:

    I keep getting stuck watching fox soccer (I have recently moved to North America), be it on TV or via a stream or even a download i seem to always get their matches. Can someone tell me the two muppets that commentate the actual games on Fox soccer (they have done at least the last two) the secondary commentator is absolutely ludicrous. The main guy is passable, against norwich he stated after hearing the fool babble on about the penalty

    “but the question is really was it a foul? don’t we want the referees and their assistants to get these decisions right in the end?”

    to which this moron replies by going into the same sh#t he was just raving on about…”why does the referee give a penalty when he clearly saw it from 5 yards aways?”…angle moron?!

    ahhh…frustrating but boy does it make the wins so much sweeter listening to these oxygen pirates grasp at words that their tiny little brains cannot produce when Arsenal win.

    • PauloDiGunnio says:

      I know Efan Ekoku is one of them (the ex footballer as opposed to the commentary anchor)

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      The second guy is usually Tony Gale

    • Cupsui says:

      i thought it was him but i always forget his name. thanks Dan…he is a piece of work!! Absolute thug. then that blonde hair tool that does the pre-game, half-time and wrap-up, absolute wanker!

  32. Nizam says:

    The most team team must be surely MU and most hated manager mustbe the red faced. How do you explain why Fulham were denied a 98% not 99.999% penalty and let the stinking guy win all the time.That is why for all his stranglehold on the epl,he can’t do likewise in the cl.
    I believe with RVP he thought he could finally land the cl. Well it’s not to be. If Wenger doesn’t get the gunners firing ,he shd go.The fm was on the verge of breaking the red faced faced stranglehold in the 2004 season only to let him rise again.
    I believe the red faced wants to go out with coronation of the cl. I hope Wenger gets his act together and frustrate the rf.Surely he cannot be winning the cl every year or every other year. He is not the god of football and surely his time to fo will be coming soon.

  33. simpa says:

    Who saw Andy Townsend analysis about the Norwich penalty. Just Biased, slating d linesman for getting d decision right “how did he see it from his position when the ref did not call it from 5 yards

  34. goonerman says:

    Many pundits are ex players who used foul tactics themselves and think because they did it and got away with it its ok-like pulling shirts in the box for example. Gale is anti Arsenal and I am sick of his over critical crap- his analysis of basic incidents is usually completely wrong.. Robson is another- man with a grudge against the club for rightfully kicking him off Arsenal FC’s commentary.

  35. Romaldo says:

    The best way out is to watch the game without commentary like I do.

  36. Sav from Australia says:

    Well said, sir!

  37. Tai Obasi, Lagos says:

    You don’t know the half of it until you come to my country, Nigeria…Arsenal is more hated than anything ever created, yet they have the highest number of faithful fans. Their trophy drought is a song at every EPL viewing centre.

    But I think the British do not necessarily hate Arsenal…they hate Wenger for unwittingly implying English players are not technical enough for his brand of football. But he gave them Ashley Cole…and has molded Walcott into a great footballer, has astutely unearthed the likely best ever English technically gifted player in Wilshere, still working to make Chamberlain world class, unearthed Gibbs, Jenkinson…and still trying …the British should learn to forgive!

  38. Tony A. says:

    When Van P scored for Arsenal, it was just ok. When he scores Man u, it is fantastic. That is d share small mindedness of some of this so called pundits. I also listened to the commentaries in d Norwich and Everton matches with arsenal and d level bias was pathetic.

  39. IKD says:

    spot on man . Gar Neville is porbably the only good one, what a transformation.

  40. ARSENAL 13 says:

    As ‘js’ said, It has to do with the way we do things. We dont spend ugly money on playing staff. SO if our system works, then more clubs will follow us. Hence finally putting a limit on what this shit heads can earn directly/indirectly.

  41. It’s been like this for years now.. You can add talksport to them. Or talkbullocks also like to call them. Spot on for noticing.

  42. Wardy says:

    we are a victim of our own success. dont think for one minute that if city or even united should fall from grace they will jump on their backs too. Dont forget what we had done the last time we won the league……Unbeaten!!! now we cant even beat blackburn or day i say it bradford city.
    besides all of that, do you really care what others think???

  43. ArseneIsYourDaddy says:

    I live in Seattle, I turn off the sound on the pundit Fox and ESPN panel. No one with an IQ above 60 listens to Robson or Dunham. The only pundit worth a damn is Gary Neville.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      True. Gary Neville is an excellent pundit and I really like his analyses. Ironic really because we all hated him as a player.

  44. Anthony Lindo says:

    well said its a noted fact the media has taken Arsenal to task this season they tried it with Sir Alex sometime back but he is a very wise man he stop giving any interview until they get off his back Wenger must do the same and get on with his work stop talking to these guys who seems to write what sell their papers or the listening audiance what arsenal supporters must remember most of these so call commentators/ pundits were one time or another in management are play the game most got the sack and are now having diarrhoea of the mouth on match day fill with envy hope next season Wenger will see the light and stop been so nice to these sport writers.

  45. Peter Storey says:

    They’re all morons. That’s the major problem.

  46. zack says:

    It is probably a build up of things that make them hate Arsenal. We sell one of our top players in the summer then as the season is about to begin, they criticise our club for how it is run and how the team definitely will not be in the top four picture. How could we when L’pool and the Scum have improved vastly, yet we sell our players. So when suddenly we are still in the top four conversation, they hate they are wrong, they then look at the club like some arrogant being for playing the classier style of football, rather than hoofing it up the field. Class is permanent and they hate that our team literally personifies an identity of high class. Play classy, responsible business, fantastic stadium. So they hate that we prove them wrong again and again, (remember beginning of the season some were acting like we would never score goals all season after a couple games) then we uphold ourselves to higher standards to style of play and how the club conducts itself.

  47. Limpar says:

    Too right. They’re is a little boys club of xenophobic british bulldog bullies that dictate the media coverage of English football. Not to mention the managers. Total hippocrites with sad pathetic little minds. Makes me sick that sad people like lawrenson etc are given a mouthpiece. On tax payers money too

  48. Madcap says:

    It is a close call between Arsenal and Man Utd, but yes I think Arsenal are the most hated team in the Premier League. There are a number of reasons but the boring boring Arsenal of the George Graham era is one of them. The ridiculous 4th place ‘trophy’ is another. Then of course it is Arsenal’s outrageous luck. Against Everton 2 of Arsenal’s goals should never have been. A corner that was a goal kick, leading to a dubious penalty given by a linesman 40 yds away. An obvious foul missed by the same linesman from 5 yds who also missed the fact that the receiving Arsenal player was a yard offside! Today they play a fulham side down to 10 men for 70 mins and scrape a 0-1 win. Is it any wonder other less fortunate teams hate them? (As well as most commentators!)

  49. Daniel Cowan says:

    Thanks for all the comments guys. I really appreciate it and I hope you all become regulars.

  50. John says:

    Biggest club in London and possibly the biggest club in England, of course we are hated and that’s the away we like it. No one likes us, we don’t care!

  51. Richard says:

    Nice blog, think the problem stems from the fact these pundits commentators for ages have said wenger should buy this player or that one spend big. Then warn of our demise if he doesn’t t yet winger ignores them and is still in top four of table whilst spending less than his rivals, yes no trophies for a long time but who else can boast wingers record of 14 seasons through to last 16 of cl not ferguson not Chelsea no only Madrid and barca. Again another dig by shearer tonight saying we will fail to make top four. Chelsea play Liverpool at a field where best they will come away with is a point though I tip Liverpool to beat Chelsea and I don’t see spurs beating city in fact I give it to city. Now that leaves Chelsea and spurs game in hand but unfortunately for both of them that game is against each other and I have a feeling that will be a draw. Then Chelsea have utd Everton to play in may two hard matches torts have slightly easier run in but still think from their remaining games best they get is ten points

  52. Sola Bamigboye says:

    RvP’s 2nd goal against Villa was a rehash of what he had done for Arsenal courtesy of passes fm Cesc, Song and a host of others who had played in the Arsenal way. so scoring it for ManU (i think for the first time) isnt new to we Arsenal Fans. Whatever anybody likes to say, RvP is wot he is today bcos AW was patient enuf with him all those yrs he contributed to the non-title winning years but was paid handsomely (for doing nothing) etc. What did SAF do to dis player sold to ManC 2 seasons ago or last for his being injury prone (forgotten his name)…If RvP were to have been in ManU, would SAF had had d kind of patience AW had? I very much doubt it….All the pundits Arsenal haters love Arsenal secretly…There is virtually no team in the EPL that plays the kind of football AW had brought to England in the past 16yrs or so….He has changed the look & feel of the Club tremendiously….except for the recent lull in trophies (tell me which club didnt go that long – Real Madrid, Barca, Chelsea, ManC (both for like 40 odd yrs), etc)…If all the so called players that were made by Arsenal stayed back, wouldnt the club be winning yoy? Lets face it, Arsenal is the club most pundits and supportes LOVE to hate and boy ol boy, am glad to be a supporter and fan of the club…ably supported by the Queen of England hersef… I am expecting that soon, AW will be Knighted…Long live the Arsenal Way….

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