By James Peek
For my chosen blog, I decided to observe twitter pundit “Bully” or @MrBullyArsenal, the most iconic Arsenal fan. With his unique looks (long hair, beard and nose ring) along with his popular post game interviews he has become quite the hit with Arsenal fans across the world. Bully reaches out to his fans primarily on twitter but he became the fan figure he is today via the official Arsenal Fan TV. Bully has around 20,000 followers, on twitter, and posts daily updates. Naturally, originating from London, Bully has attained an ingrained love for Arsenal that goes well beyond the normal cause. Frequently, he is seen acclaiming his beloved gunners from the stands, and urging the fans to chant and rallying them when needed. A great image of his passion was during the 2014 FA cup final roller coaster, where Bully had an FA cup trophy painted on his chest and was seen tirelessly cheering for the 90 minutes.
Currently, it is a great time to be an Arsenal fan, to a certain extent. They are still in the FA cup, which is more then can be said for many of our top 4 rivals, they are starting to put together some actual form, beating Man City and drumming Aston Villa 5-0, and their Champions League tie is promising. Players are also coming back from their injuries so on the whole it’s a great time to be a fan. After the Aston Villa game Bully was interviewed by Arsenal Fan TV. Bully can be seen in great spirit, and replies to questions with some slapstick humour. As any true arsenal fan does, he enjoys poking fun at our “Noisy Neighbours”, Tottenham. When asked about their star man, Harry Kane, his satirical response “Who?” was quite the fit and a perfect gesture to begin stirring the cauldron for Saturday’s derby. Bully transitioned to pushing Tottenham further aside, acclaiming “St Totteringham’s day will be soon” and even acclaimed that Southampton were the much bigger threat. His joyous mood was further conveyed by poking fun at Arsenal not scoring enough; “We almost got as many goals as they have goujons in a box at McDonalds”. The upbeat manner was clearly in abundance during this interview and is evidently a sign of the times at arsenal.
Nevertheless, it’s not always such great times at Arsenal. One thing that is noticeable about Bully and his twitter activity is that he’s very loud before a game, and after a win, however he falls twitter silent after a loss. It’s rare he tweets, after a loss, but if he does, he’ll normally scapegoat something, for instance; a referee decision or the players not turning up rather than the other team playing well. Fans, especially at top clubs, are always under the same umbrella that they will win every game, and if they don’t it’s someones fault. Bully accredits the loss to southampton as an “Abysmal Abysmal performance” the loss to Chelsea as “Ozil being completely ineffective” and the loss to Man United as “Arsenal should have had a penalty”. Interestingly, Bully seems to dislike that referee, Mike Dean, as he has had various tweets criticizing him. On one occasion he stated: “A bit worried about today’s game as I’ve heard Gollom is refereeing our game”. After some more, in-depth research, I found an article which highlighted the fact that Arsenal had won just 7% of games with Mike Dean officiating. The most interesting part though was not the article itself but the comment section below it. Many arsenal fans had channeled their anger from past Tottenham games, claiming Mike Dean celebrated a Tottenham goal and that he sent players off for no apparent reason. Conversely, other fans attributed the statistics to Mike Dean being one of the best referees, in the EPL, and getting to officiate the biggest games, which would make sense. This is a great example of how fans polemicize their views to justify their team not living up to their infinite expectations. It provides them with a comfort and something to cling onto when the candle is flickering. Football indicates a sense of pride and livelihood which connects people from all over the world. It garners one a sense of belonging and unity. Football provides fans with that eternal hope of witnessing that one magical moment. It’s a love, an art, football is a way of life for Bully. His passion is so sincere that he is the catalyst for many other fans. Bully allows his emotions to overflow into his words and actions, so-much-so that we can witness something special as he has the true candor of the arsenal football bubble. Bully is the fans’ voice.