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10 reasons why everyone hates... Arsenal

Please note: Tottenham have got the return treatment, so no, we aren't just picking on you. Oh, and the below doesn't necessarily represent the views of FourFourTwo. Enjoy... 

1. Arsenal Fan TV

They have (perhaps inadvertently) set the template for affected anger, constructed characters and the preposterous melodrama

Trickier than it seems, because Arsenal Fan TV is not solely responsible for the ridiculousness it bred – and, realistically, nor can it be held accountable for television companies cynically entering the market in an attempt to monetise supporter frustrations.

However, they are the industry's Oppenheimer. While giving a voice to supporters should be incontestably good, they have (perhaps inadvertently) set the template for affected anger, constructed characters and the preposterous melodrama which now pulses daily through the game's fan communities.

The more ridiculous you are, the more famous you might become.

2. #WengerOut

Arsenal bounce between tragedy and glory without pausing in between, and there is never a point at which Wenger is treated as anything other than a genius or heretic

The binary football debate that interests nobody but which is still contested as fiercely as ever. Every weekend there are snarky micro-skirmishes, with the winning and losing of individual games used as ultimate vindication of long-standing positions. Arsenal bounce between tragedy and glory without pausing in between, and there is never a point at which Arsene Wenger is treated as anything other than a genius or heretic.

"How's the Wenger Out campaign going?" tweets at least one broadsheet journalist after every routine home win. "Where's the crisis?" shouts another, inevitably before the mini-collapse which ends another title dream.

There can be no compromise, no ground must ever be conceded and the only force capable of ending this war is death itself.

3. Invincible?

While unquestionably a wonderful season from a brilliant team, it's still one which has been redacted favourably over time

Two teams in English football history have been described as "Invincible": Preston North End in the 1888/89 season and 2003/04's Arsenal.

And pedantry time: while Preston won the Football League that year and lifted the FA Cup without conceding a goal, Arsenal – while surviving the league season undefeated – lost in the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United, were beaten by Middlesbrough in the League Cup at the same stage and were eliminated by Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-final.

While unquestionably a wonderful season from a brilliant team, it's still one which has been redacted favourably over time.

4. This...

All of the fanbase's curious neuroses captured in a few sensational Twitter seconds.

5. The "spend some money" banners

When you think of fans getting bent out of shape by transfer inertia, you typically imagine them wearing Arsenal's colours

As ever with supporters who take handcrafted banners to games, it's not the banner which should catch your eye – rather, the pious expression of the person holding it. Equally, it's also worth considering the choices made during the construction phase. Helvetica or Times New Roman? Pritt-Stick or double-sided sellotape? Have I put this apostrophe in the right position? (Probably not.) 

This may be a symptom of modern football as a whole, but when you think of fans getting bent out of shape by transfer inertia, you typically imagine them wearing Arsenal's colours. It's hard to prove, of course, but it's a virtual certainty that the club's Twitter account was the first to feel the grating force of the "announce player X" meme.

6. Battled of Old Trafford

While Millennium-era Arsenal are often associated with all that is good and pure in the game, they were as nasty as anyone in the league

We've all seen the footage a thousand times, so the events following Manchester United vs Arsenal in 2003 don't need further description – other than to say, of course, that it's one of the ugliest, most petulant sequences in the Premier League's history.

It also exhibited a side of that team which has been largely forgotten: while Millennium-era Arsenal are often associated with all that is good and pure in the game, they were as nasty as anyone in the league. That disciplinary record wasn't a myth; they really did do their share of bullying and they weren't quite the benevolent evangelists they're now claimed to have been.

7. The umlaut craze post-Ozil

Like some kind of dreadful social media melanoma, this began in the late summer of 2013 and is still in evidence today

Like some kind of dreadful social media melanoma, this began in the late summer of 2013 and is still in evidence today. It's annÖying and essentially stigmata of a particular mindset. These are people who fix "witty" bumper stickers to their cars and who write passive-aggressive notes to their neighbours about trivial issues.

Is it dislikable or just strange? It's a curious blend of the two, making it as Arsenal as something can possibly be.

8. Piers Morgan

He's not the typical Arsenal fan, of course, but he's still the perfect caricature imagined by rivals - all absurd over-reactions and shallow posturing

Try – try – to separate Morgan from his present day "attention at any cost" persona. Forget Trump, forget his cringeworthy online exchanges with Sugar, Lineker et al. (heck, just forget the human being he is) and isolate what he represents as a supporter.

He's not the typical Arsenal fan, of course, but he's still the perfect caricature imagined by rivals – all absurd over-reactions and shallow posturing. No patience, no real love and no third gear beyond crowing smugness and furious anger.

"Boom!"

9. The treatment of Arsene Wenger

Beyond the ferocious tedium of the more general debate, the way Wenger has been treated by a small section of the fans has occasionally been thoroughly unpleasant. 

He has his flaws as a manager, clearly, but the personal nature of the criticism he's faced – the railway station incident, in particular – has occasionally been stomach-turning. It's a minority, of course, but it has both created the perception of egregious entitlement and also a disregard for the values in football beyond the game itself.

Players are often accused of being fickle, but what does it say about supporters when a manager who completely transformed them is treated almost as a hate figure?

10. The red wine incident

In November 2014, after a 2-1 defeat by Manchester United at the Emirates, one Arsenal fan expressed his outrage by hurling his red win at the visiting bench.

Of course he did.

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