Look. We all know things haven’t gone all that well in recent days for Arsenal. We all know Arsenal haven’t won a championship in a while, and we all know how the team has done in the last few seasons. We’re also all frustrated by this, I think, to varying degrees - but the one thing we also are is fans of the team, no matter what, good or bad.
Apparently, that’s not good enough for Craig Burley, a “midfielder” who scored 37 goals in 16 seasons for six different teams - a dynamite 2.3 goals per season! - and is now a TV gasbag. Instead of taking a hard look at the problem with Arsenal’s setup, or its recruitment, or its coaching and management philosophies, the estimable Mr. Burley has decided that the problem with Arsenal is...us.
'I'm telling you, Arsenal fans: you are spineless. You are the mirror image of your team: weak, mentally weak,' Burley said. 'They follow their club across Europe and up and down the country in England, and they accept the mediocrity - and it is mediocrity, by a club of that standard, getting in the top four.
So, there you have it. All along, it’s been our fault! Us! Who knew we had so much power and influence? Who knew that all we had to do, all along, was get on Arsenal Fan TV, vomit out some half-baked screed about how Wenger’s past it and how he should spend more money or whatever. Burley also said
'The spineless Arsenal fans will not get up at the Emirates and voice their opinion, and really stamp their feet: 'We want change, we want change. It might hurt for a couple of years, but we want to go in a different direction.'
Well, clearly Craig Burley doesn’t remember The Great A4 Protest Of 2016. But apart from that, I think Burley’s missed that those noises have in fact been heard, from a lot of different directions, for the last few years now. Just because people who pay exorbitant amounts of money to enter the stadium want to watch the match doesn’t mean they’re not unhappy; it just mostly means they love their team and want to watch it, and will protest elsewhere, online or on sports shout radio or whatever.
I mean, in the most generous possible sense, Burley has a point - maybe if there were some sort of loud, mass protest at the Emirates, the board might sit up and take notice. But calling an entire fanbase “spineless” and “mentally weak” is, I’m guessing, probably not the way to engage said fanbase in that debate.