Monday 30 May 2011

AKB: the deluded railroading of debate

I wrote briefly on the 'AKB' tag the other day and this was largely inspired by some pretty slack jawed stuff that had been trotted out elsewhere in recent weeks. There were a number of excellent and eloquent responses from readers, certainly others who had been as angered as myself at the way in which some lazily trot out the 'AKB' tag in order to avoid ever listening to the opinions of others or thinking with their grey cells. This response summed it all up well:

"I am afraid that these 'empty vessels' who pamper to the vocal minority in search of greater visibility, will inevitably drown the voices of those among us who care for the club and wish to contribute with constructive argument and debate."

Quite right. Strangely the whole issue was neatly summarised when someone who seems to be unable to say anything without using the AKB tag emerged from the pond to try to explain his 'logic', if one can call it that. According to this intellectual powerhouse all Arsenal fans must divide themselves up into two camps, we must either be AKBs and think Arsene is a supernatural deity or be utterly opposed to these silly AKBs, thus want Arsene sacked and the playing squad completely dismantled.

Apparently it is courageous to 'make a stand' like this and call for the manager's head in the most vitriolic, angry and disrespectful of manners. Anyone who doesn't agree with sacking Arsene is then written off as a 'fence sitter' who is catalysing the process of stagnation at the club, what flawless logic.

The saddest thing about all this is that a small minority of Arsenal 'fans' is trying to divide and conquer, they are creating a rift in order to further their own rather polarised 'beliefs'. The greatest irony of all this is the way in which the AKB tag was coined, it was created by this vocal minority as they simply couldn't be bothered to engage with their fellow supporters, they just lazily and arrogantly wrote off a large section of their fellow support without even bothering to listen to their views. It was not something to be proud of.

The world is not black and white, we are not all either communists or fascists, this polarised view of events is neither helpful, intelligent or productive. In fact forcing people into two camps at opposite ends of the spectrum is immensely counter productive, and those who do the forcing have shown their true colours, their arguments on their own do not cut the mustard, so they have fallen back to bullying others into their way of 'thinking' or not 'thinking' as the case may be.

In conclusion this piece is not intended to divide, its intention is to draw attention to the unacceptable way in which a small angry vocal minority is treating its fellow Arsenal supporters. If you don't agree with someone, why not listen to their point of view, discuss things and then you can always agree to disagree like adults. It is not big or clever to polarise the debate, tag people with an oversimplified label and then just try to force your opinion down their throats while holding your fingers in your ears whenever they dare express their own opinion.


Anonymous said...

your attitude and writing stinks of pseudo intellectual superiority.

stop trying to demean those of us who want change. if it can happen in the arab world than it will happen at arsenal. you deluded mugs will eventually be overrun by the sane arsenal fans who do not worship wenger like a god.

tg said...

@ anonymous, I think you just proved the Bloggers point.

Jenkinson said...

You are right tg. Typical unthinking abuse in the use of the word deluded.
Balanced argumeny and literacy do not equal pseudo-intellectualism.(amazed anonymous could spell that!)

stupid deluxe said...

Hahahaha excellent!! @ anonymous, The intellectual superiority you're feeling from the blogger is not just a feeling i'm afraid, you've very eloquently stood on a soapbox and shouted out to the world how intellectually inferior you are! Well done, twat.

Wenger is not a god, FACT! Nor is he a cunt.

Dan said...

Nice article again mate. The 1st response completely proves your point.

The AKB thing is lazy and pathetic. As far as I can tell it is only used by those who hate Wenger, therefore if you dont hate the man, you are an AKB. Regardless of whether you are critical of him.

tg said...

I didn't find the blog post to be pseudo intellectual whatsoever. Quite balanced and reasonable to ask for more toleration. I not either an Arsene out or AKB. Have got the hump with the manager and some of the players about how we fell apart in our last 3 games. I hope he puts it right in the summer.

Anonymous said...

Writer is spot on - this year was a fine line between great good and disappointing and its too easy to call for drastic measures actually there isnt much wrong.
Teams have strong periods, ManU at the moment, liverpool before that and Arsenal in the 30's.
You forget how lucky we are as Arsenal fans to see some amazing football and to see week in week out some of the best players in the world.

Champions League is no mean achievement every many times have we been written off in the past (esp by jumped up spurs fans).
Who would you replace him with, McClaren, Allardyce, Avram Grant??

We have gone unbeaten for a season and won many trophies under Wenger and has transformed the club into a European Powerhouse (you couldn't say that before he arrived). We are all passionate about arsenal and yes, sometimes I wonder why we haven't got a new Goalkeeper (bid for Reina) and Defender (didnt expect Vermalen to be out all season...He did look at Samba).

Lets get behind Wenger and the team and support them.

You say you want change (the grass isnt always greener - tell me a player that has left arsenal to go on and improve and raise their game?)

Anonymous said...

Take a chill pill,
"stop trying to demean those of us who want change. if it can happen in the arab world than it will happen at arsenal. you deluded mugs will eventually be overrun by the sane arsenal fans who do not worship wenger like a god."
We are talking football here not world democracy, its insulting to the arab nations who are dying on the streets in their fight for justice, I love Arsenal to death but this comparison is ridiculous.THE FACT IS THAT THE MAJORITY OF ARSENAL FANS DO NOT READ THESE POSTS, so I cannot smell revolution in the air just yet, it took barca six years to start winning ~ for six years they could not even win a bloody raffle ticket, so relax get behind the team, and stop being so rude! goonerluv

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^^^^^^^ last 2 AKB's

Symobiosis said...

The problem is that both sides of the 'fence' are more than capable of descending into abuse with neither holding sole rights to being the most childish.

On top of this, others 'cheer on' their side in the debate, enjoying stoking the fires which is equally as stupid.

My concern, like the writers, is that the loudest voice is being heard and accepted as the majority view; it isn't. Indeed, I suspect there is no definable majority in the Arsenal support, the most will cherry-pick arguments from either camp.

It will be no surprise though when the media instigates a "Wenger Out" campaign this season, proclaiming that it is the view of all Arsenal supporters.

1979gooner said...

Thanks anonymous 1, you have demonstrated the point perfectly! Not intentionally though!

Comparing this to autocratic regimes and popular uprisings is rather misguided to say the least, strangely though there is a parallel here, in that power vacuums after losing leaders can often lead to even worse situations devoping, even worse than many could possibly anticipate

Symobiosis makes some good points, the noisy minority seems to think it is a hell of a lot bigger than it is in reality, in reality this minority is a small group of deluded individuals who have become way too big for their own boots, their bark is loud, they have no bite

The sad thing is that there are a lot of malignant anti-arsenal vested interests in the media who will use the noise of this small group to unsettle our club, we need to prevent this from happening by defining the sensible middle ground

Anonymous said...

The AKB tag was coined as a response to the years of fans saying "Arsene Knows". Some fans started thinking well actually it looks as if Arsene doesn't know. The fans who rose to the defence of Arsene signed off their comments with "Arsene Knows" which is where opponents to this termed the phrase for those defenders as AKBs.

Danish Gooner said...

So everything is rosy at Arsenal.6 years of complete and utter piffle like Denilson(signed by Wenger),Abou Babou(signed by Wenger)Rosicknote(signed by Wenger),Silvestre,squid,etc all signed by Wenger.Hopeless lack of will,drive,workrate,determintion etc.Hopeless team selection like 0-4 in the cup against Manure,playing Bendtner etc out of position and getting nothing but bad performances from it.So i want Wenger out,big deal i am not the only one i can tell you.I consttantly come across AKBs saying,go support Spurs and the eternal classic "you dont know what you will get ".So i want change,so..... i am entitled to my opinion and i am sick and tired of AKBs calling me a lesser supporter for that.

1979gooner said...

Anonymous 1330

The point is that the AKB tag is now being routinely used to insult anyone who doesn't agree with a small militant vocal minority who wants a certain thing and have a certain fixed opinion.

Also there is more than a certain irony in the fact that this AKB tag was created as you say to counter this 'Arsene Knows' crew (?!?), I suspect those who wrote Arsene Knows down were writing it down in a slightly tongue in cheek manner in response to some of the inappropriately vitriolic abuse than the manager was being unfairly subjected to by this righteous crew of know-it-alls. A tag has been created in response to a tag.

A better way to approach this would be to sensibly reason with people and find some common ground, or agree to disagree.

Even if we accept this explanation, which is more than a tad dubious anyway, a tat cannot be excused by the tit than came before it, those who use the AKB tag should grow up and rise above this pathetic name calling.

The history of the AKB tag is a bit of a sideshow anyway, it is rather clear that those who use it now as a tool to bully others have no decent argument to back their points up, they are resorting to this childish insult rather than engaging in any constructive debate.

Ironically those who use the AKB tag, and who seem to think they are so much more knowledgeable than our manager, seem to know a lot less than him in virtually every single aspect of football, something these deluded fools seem incapable of seeing, they have no insight into thier own rank stupidity, they do not see things in any kind of sensible context or perspective.

Dan said...

Danish Gooner, missing the point entirely and spewing bile and retarded waffle as usual. Havent you topped yourself yet you uselss twat?

1979gooner said...

Danish Gooner

unfortunately you completely miss the point

this article is not a defense of Arsene Wenger, this is not saying he should not be criticised and has not made some significant errors

you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled in my opinion to slag off people who disagree with you and label them as something petty like an 'AKB'

after all, you just look like a rank hypocrite in doing this as as you want others to respect your opinion, but you will not respect their opinion!

come on, argue without using the AKB tag and let's remain adult about this

Anonymous said...

I really would like to see some either refute the points in the original column or explain why Wenger shouldn't be up for criticism.
The same problems have been evident for several years now, we all see it. And yet the problems remain unaddressed. What else is one to think?

The expectation should be that we win, not that we do well or try hard, that we win. Clearly the effort of the last two months indicates that doing well is good enough and that simply MUST change. Wenger coming out with the 'finishing second is not a bad result' sends the message that winning is nice but not essential and thus mediocre efforts are acceptable. If you don't think that's true then do explain how Denilson, Eboue, Almunia, Arshavin, Djourou, Squilacci et al get on the field.

The larger concern at this point is that the way the team finished the season they are completely shattered mentally and that it now pervades the room. My concern is that bringing in one or two experienced players isn't going to change that mentality. It starts at the top and until that is made clear to everyone, including the fans, Wenger will be up for criticism.

1979gooner said...

Anonymous 1708

you have clearly failed to read anything properly

if you had you would have realised than none of my pieces have argued for wenger being immune from criticism, far from it, if you were a regular reader here you would have seen a lot of criticism of various errors that we feel he has made in recent seasons

the point being made is about a stupid minority of fans who are insulting other fans because they can't be arsed to engage in a discussion or listen to other opinions, that is why the AKB tag is such a foolish and counter productive thing

what is this magical 'must change'? to me it sounds like a lot of hollow chatter without any decent concrete suggestions on what that change should consist of, something frequently heard from people who love to slag off their fellow gooners as AKBs

I'm not going to spend hours repeating myself to you on where I think the club and squad should be going, but if you wish to read the older posts to find out then feel free

The issue that you bring up that our mentality starts from the top is a strange one, it also makes it hard to believe that this is the same manager who instilled such toughness and belief in his side that it went a whole season unbeaten in the league? I fail to be convinced that changing our manager now is the best option for the club.

You list Djourou as a mediocre player, he did make a couple of bad errors at the end of the season, but it has to be said that he had a fantastic season overall, he was by far our outstanding centre back and put in numerous excellent performances. Be fair.

Thus overall your comments address nothing put forward in the original article, you obfuscate by trying to pretend that I think Arsene should be immune from criticism, something that is clearly utter nonsense and based on nothing at all.

The AKB tag is a pile of steaming intellectually weak piffle I'm afraid and nothing you have said argues against this, it seems to me that this makes it QED.

Kipmonster said...

AKB is a justifiable tag to those 'superiority complex' who deride anybody who doesn't support AW 100% & dares to criticise aqny aspect of his management & state a need to spend in the transfer market. The immediate attitude is F.O. & support Chelsea etc. It's the AKB types who are most guilty of trying to suppress sensible debate & not the other way around.

Lucas said...

Good piece.

For me the whole AKB v Wenger Out 'groupings' remind me of the YesToAV/NoToAV campaigns in that they generally spout rubbish very loudly.

I think, like most people, I'm pretty much of the opinion that frankly Arsene does know best, or at least better than me. If he were to leave tomorrow there would be a queue of clubs looking to drop him a few million a year to manage whereas sadly all I get is a mate wanting help with an u8 team. Unpaid. Such is life.

The thing is though I am quite capable of having my own opinion and disagreeing with his. I suppose for various reasons I think he should be leading us next season and no doubt some will dub me AKB for that but it's not down to a slavish dedication to the man or anything, just that I genuinely believe he can do the job better than most anyone out there.

I'm no JCL (another silly term that I've seen spread recently) as I've been a regular home/away goer since dear old Bertie was sat in the manager's office so I've seen managers come and go. There have also been times when I've vociferously wanted the manager to go (I'm looking at you, Terrance) but I just don't feel we're at that point with Wenger.

As a general point I just feel that for too many people life is about extreme opinions on things these days. In the shouty modern media (both professional and social) age we live in, where everyone is apparently entitles to an opinion on anything, regardless of any knowledge, that people feel they have to express themselves in extremes.

Anonymous said...

AKBs are just as bad. Anyone who dares not conform to their outlook is threatened with severe beatings and called 'silly' not unlike Hill-Wood.
An example is an AKB telling someone that Denilson is a good player because he trusts Wenger. Asked to justify his comments all he said was, 'I justify nothing. Your an idiot for thinking Denilson is a flop.'
nice huh?

Dan said...


I think you need more sleep, you obviously havemissed the point of this article.

Anonymous said...

A denial of denial. You must be blind as well as deaf if you do not think the AKB are not out there or are a figment of somebodies imagination. Should we start naming the evidence? Try reading the Untold Arsenal for starters. AKB very accurately describes their position. That site refers to sites that criticise Wenger as "The anti Arsenal Arsenal" contributers frequently refer to other Arsenal fans as the enemy and has referred to other fans as retards and cretins.
The truth is Wenger divides opinion amongst fans-and I have met many fans personally who worship the man.

Anonymous said...


Using Denilson is the A1 bona fide Doomer scapegoat. Even tho he has hardly played this season it amazes me how many time dense tabloid headline reading sheep use him in their arguments.

Real high brow debate dude.

1979gooner said...

Kipmonster, 2214 and 2219 Anons

You have clearly missed the point of the article and by trying to justify the use of the AKB tag you simply make the same glaring errors that have been pointed out in the original pieces.

Even if there are a tiny number of this 'Arsene Knows' group around who will not debate things then that still DOESN'T justify the use of the AKB tag.

There are better ways of dealing with these people, you reason with them and if that doesn't work there are ways of making them look silly without just insulting them, that's just pathetic.

The point I am making now in addition is that this AKB tag is being used by certain idiots to describe anyone who dares defend Wenger at all and this is quite clearly ludicrous, showing the stupidity of the tag.


God, you really are missing the point aren't you? You have provided enough evidence for the stupidity of the AKB tag on your own!

Shubham Goel said...

winning the title or champions league is what I hope for!
C'mon fans we're a big big club and despite not winning for 6 years, we've shown what we're capable of this season.Imo we are the only team to have beaten Barcelona by playing an offensive game.
Surely the title's coming back to north-london next year.
Season Review: Part I

Anonymous said...

79 Gooner
So you agree with their criticisms and disagree with their conclusion. That came across very clearly in your article. Not.
And this minority has got your shorts in such a knot that you feel it necessary to respond? Grow a spine.

As to what must change i can only assume that you've not competed at a high level. The difference at the top is all mental. Mental toughness. The ability to get stuck in when the odds are against you, when you're not playing well, feeling well, luck doesn't seem to favour you....This team does not show up at the crucial moments and that i believe is due to being coddled. Being told that second isn't so bad after all, that we're making progress, that the team is young....
The demand for excellence breeds excellenc, the demand for winning breeds winning. Anything less is complacency and complacency breeds teams that don't perform in the crunch. Wenger must stop excusing poor performances.
And it does start at the top. The team is a reflection of it's manager. They take on his attributes. ManU has become ruthless because Ferguson is ruthless, he punishes poor performance. Do you see Wenger doing that?
When Adams and Viera were on the field they were much further along. They already had the killer instinct needed to win. Why doesn't this team exhibit such fire? You could probably count on one hand the players who have the intestinal fortitude to drive this team forward and for that I fault Wenger.

As for Djourou, if he's our best centreback then we're clearly in trouble, as if we didn't know that already. 42 goals conceded!!! More than half off set pieces which is where centrebacks do their work. If that's the definition of an excellent season no wonder this team can't win in the crunch. You make my point. They've already been told how marvelous they are by the likes of you!

This in not to suggest that Wenger should be pitched overboard. But that there are some serious flaws that continue to go unaddressed. Wenger needs to be put on a short leash. Pressue applied to Wenger will result in Wenger applying pressure to the players and if the players can't handle it then find players who can.

Ted said...

Some interesting stuff in this post and the comments above. The AKB tag has become shorthand for those who want change and as far as it goes, the tag is useful. As 1979 says, you divide and conquer - in the polarised debate you either accept that Wenger has to go or you are an AKB.

What is perhaps more interesting is the depth of feeling it demonstrates about Mr Wenger. However, Wenger is not the first 'successful' manager to feel the wrath of his previously adoring public. The difference, perhaps, is that Wenger's public statements of belief in this side have been so palpably revealed as unjustified.

For 3 consecutive seasons, Wenger has heard the criticisms and rejected them. Instead, he has asked to be judged on the success of the team and has failed to deliver on any front. Frankly, we have not even been close.

Wenger should resign for the simple reason that he asked Arsenal fans to ignore their own beliefs and to trust in him. The AKB tag nicely summarises the cult of Wenger. And its time for something new.

Anonymous said...

anon 1734

you seem to look for what you want to see, find it and then draw conclusions based on things that were never there in the first place, strange

i am not agreeing with particular criticisms, this article is not about the validity of whatever criticisms have been mentioned, it is about one group trying to polarise the debate because they are too weak to engage in a proper debate

it's an easy thing to put it all to mentality, but in my opinion it's a tad naive and simplistic

mentality is defined by many things and the squad's experience and playing characteristics contribute as much to it as anything else, it is a very multifactorial entity

to say it's just mentality, as if this is all that needs to be fixed, is silly

to change our mentality we need to do many things and the signs are, judging from recent AW quotes, that he clearly realises his errors in terms of aerial weakness, defensive weakness and a lack of experience

it's funny that wenger is such a loser and an excuser of poor performances all of a sudden

he has been a winner far more often than not in his managerial career, plus there are lots of recent signs that he has clearly had enough of the current level of inconsistency and poor performances

wenger has the ability to turn things around, i don't have some deluded belief that he is guaranteed to do this but feel he deserves a bit more time to do this

he has bred a winning mentality and grown some absolute top winners of the game (vieira/petit/cole/anelka/gilberto etc) in the past and has the ability to do this again

i disagree with ted, he deserves more time and should not go now

ted, who would you bring in then? can you be constructive??

i will be constructive

bring in an experienced keeper, maybe jens for a year to babysit szczesny

bring in a left back

get rid of squillaci and bring in a battle hardened EPL centre back with aerial power

bring in a hungry defensive midfielder who can be cover for song

get rid of cesc if less than 100% committed to us

get rid of denilson, almunia, vela, arshavin

if nasri goes, then replace with hazard

bring in ashley young

if bendtner goes then bring in a pacey frontman

read arsene's recent comments, i really think he knows proper change is needed, this is the first time this has been apparent in the last 3/4 years and it is very encouraging

there's still a long way to go

certainly if he makes significant changes and there is no progress in terms of the results then he should get no more than 2yrs


marcus said...

Why has my post not appeared here?

Ted said...

1979 - i don't claim to know how to solve the problem. But i do see managers like David Moyes and Martin O'Neil and think they are (or have) achieving great things with budgets far smaller than Wengers'.

Someone like Moyes takes a player like Tim Cahill and gets the very very best from him. I wonder what Moyes could do on a bigger stage. Arsenal probably don't have the balls to give him a go.

However, i thinks its unfair for you to say that Arsenal fans have to be able to identify Wenger's replacement in order tro ask for change. After all, no one had heard of Wenger before we signed him.

1979gooner said...

I disagree.

It would be foolish to change manager now.

Also it would be very hard to get someone better in.

Moyes, yes a great job at Everton but could he step up? Only time would tell.

I think you do have to be constructive when criticising, after all if you aren't then you can easily sink down to the easy whinging behaviour of the eternally unhappy.

From what I have read recently Arsene is taking the criticisms very much on board and an Arsene who has taken not, and who will change, is our best option at the moment.

If he doesn't back this up with action, ie we don't ship out the dross on the squad and bring in the right stuff, then I agree next summer may be time for changing manager.

I still think he deserves this chance to turn things around and it looks like he knows he has to change his ethos a bit to do this.

Ted said...

Let me make one thing clear, namely I love Arsene Wenger. I truly think he has achieved more on a limited budget than anyone else in English football.

However, he is in now on very thin ice. I say this as an armchair pundit, but as one of many who said that they were not convinced by Wenger's signings in the post Vieira and post Keown period. The names who replaced them have simply never been good enough, as said above.

Football is not a box of jedi mind tricks. Yet Wenger thought that players like Denilson and Diaby would achieve the hights of Vieira, Petit and Gilberto. It does not take the tabloid press to point out that is stupidly wrong.

I simply don't see why Arsene Knows Best. The Emperor's clothes are somewhat revealed - Wenger backed players who nakedly could not deliver. On top of that, Wenger has deployed a 4-3-3 system that patently does not work.

Let's also not forget our abysmal home record. You are not going to get a set of happy fans when you are shit at home! The bizarre results against Chelski and Manure only prove that point.

Good players play good football. We need a winner.

converse one star said...

It is not big or clever to polarise the debate, tag people with an oversimplified label and then just try to force your opinion down their throats while holding your fingers in your ears whenever they dare express their own opinion.

Anonymous said...


not sure what you're trying to say

i'm not saying arsene always knows best, as you put it

i just think he's a fantastic manager who has made some bad mistakes recently, largely because he forgot a few basics and got a bit carried away with certain obsessions

it seems that he has learnt from where he has gone wrong, judging from recent chat and interviews, and if this is the case, i think he can be the right man to lead us to further success

if he is not, only time will tell, and certainly if he fails in the next year or so with what he does then there will be a good case for a new manager

you are trying to polarise things a bit unfairly, you simply can't say wenger is not a winner

it's not fair or sensible to write people off as being losers and winners

even the best have bad runs, the proof of the pudding is whether you can turn things around again, time and time again

wenger has done it before and he has the ability to do it again

maybe he will, maybe he won't, i don't know

i just think he has as good a chance as anyone to do the job and that's why we'd be foolish to get rid now


Omglol said...

Ty for the nice blog. We need more arguments and thinking added in the post's then just hate and sarcasm. Critics can be nice as long as they are not simple abuse, but people dont know how to seperate that.

Shubham Goel said...

I actually don't understand Nasri's statements. He's been good for only half a season and he thinks he's good enough to play with Arsenal FC. He is potentially world-class but surely not now.He needs to reonsider his thought and try to progress in the footballing department which can best be done at Arsenal.

El-Piresidente said...

Spot on and thank you for providing an alternative Arsenal read to the open sewer of resentment and entitlement that the onlinegooner has become.