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Arsene Wenger discussed in phone tap conversation

Yesterday this was the only blog that linked phone tapping to football. Today the news confirms what I could only hint at yesterday: football is very much involved in the phone tapping story.

Sir Alex F-Word and Alan Zebra have now both been named as people whose phones were tapped by the News of the World. We already knew that Gordon Taylor, chief exec of the Professional Footballers’ Association, had his phone tapped. He sued the NoW last year.

Now the story goes further. Some of the messages that were tapped into on Gordon Taylor’s phone came from a police officer investigating an alleged crime involving a Premier League player.

Other taps included a discussion of Arsene Wenger and Jamie Redknapp. The Guardian today says that there was discussion of “a prominent Premier League player who had a cocaine problem.”

The Guardian also says today that “two other figures from the world of football also sued and were paid a further £300,000.”

So where does this take us?

1. We know that at the very top FIFA has been proven in court to be totally corrupt.

2. We know that there is a long on-going enquiry into financial and other forms of corruption in football, and that the manager of Tottenham and two directors of Birmingham, plus others, continue to be under arrest but released on police bail. That of course does not mean they are guilty.

3. We know from every day experience often reported here that football journalists make up stories, and then reprint them (the Arshavin case is a perfect one, and as was pointed out today and yesterday, Rosicky is now getting the same treatment.)

So what are we, as people who want to discuss football in general and Arsenal in particular, to do?

Basically I think all we have left to go on is what the club tells us (in that I cannot recall a situation in which the club has put out false news) and for us to use logical judgement and reasoning.

Of course people like Lewey005 have a different view. His idea is that the youngsters we have brought in are no good at all, and that we should spend money to buy new players.

That is a legitimate argument but it is not one that has any logic to it. Consider the post that starts “I’m seriously” published at lunchtime today (friday). This is not only not an argument that I agree with it does not have a coherent argument within it – it is a statement of random facts and concepts about the chairman, Cesc and everyone else you want to throw in. I believe the arguments also fall down in terms of his analysis of our young players (but of course that is a harder one to argue – even the stats can result in people saying, “you can prove anything with stats”), but more it falls down at the end.

Lewey005 says, “Please don’t kid yourselves that we are making progress because we have not. Arsenal will have a nice healthy bank balance but Man United, Real Madrid and all the other big teams will be winning the big prizes and that, after all is what football is about.”

For me, that is not what football is all about. It is about at least two other things. It is about supporting my tribe – the Arsenal, whom I have supported since the age of 7 or 8. And it is about survival.

Lewey005 will disagree or say it is irrelevant, but I do not believe that Manchester United and Liverpool have the ability to continue as they are going on and will fall, just as Leeds United did.

What we actually have is a world of football that is corruptly ruled at the top, in which at least two newspapers are repeatedly using illicit means to gather information, in which most papers make up stories which are quite untrue, and in which a number of clubs have debts which are utterly unsustainable. A debate which does not incorporate such matters is not a complete debate.

(c) Tony Attwood

52 comments to Arsene Wenger discussed in phone tap conversation

  • TheSKAGooner

    Too smart by half, Tony. Well done. As usual. 🙂

  • Lewey005

    I see Gazidis has stuck his head above the parapet again. Now he tells us it’s time for the “young Guns” to deliver. Er, haven’t we heard this before? This message is now being routinely issued every pre-season by the AFC hierarchy but the obvious question to ask is never posed: What if they DON’T deliver (again)? What action will be taken then? Cue deathly silence and scratching of heads. Like many other fans I’m heartily sick of this supposed “journey” AFC has embarked on. It’s full of endless excuses, below-par, impotent (well done, Cesc) performances, inept managerial displays and a complete inability to tackle the problems that riddle our club. For instance, Gazidis undermined his credibility the moment he arrived at the Emirates and began fawning over Wenger. Why do that? Surely he could see that AW is operating in the comfort zone. Mourinho spotted that within seconds of his arrival at the Bridge. So why should we believe that IG will now take Wenger to task should we endure another season of failure? The fact is that he won’t. Instead of just flapping his gums, our chief exec should be a flurry of activity, bagging all the players we patently need in order to mount a credible title challenge. Wenger should have been given an ultimatum last season and should therefore have ended his tenure a few months ago – before having the chance to waste yet another summer transfer window. With Gazidis proving a spineless “yes” man, with a perennially baffled Wenger sticking to his excuse-laden “winning isn’t everything” philosophy, with our rag-tag squad of misfiring misfits and lightweights, the club is just going to putter along until we’re inevitably overtaken by a more ambitious outfit. Maybe then, when the CL cash dries up, the myopic Gazidis will finally take his eyes off his soaring bank balance and find the backbone to address our many problems.

    Part two of Gazidis mouthing off (my, he’s been a busy boy)… Of the Usmanov scheme he says the club refused capital to buy one or two big players “in an inflated transfer market”. Er, tell me, Ivan, when is it NOT going to be inflated – particularly by humble ol’ AFC standards. As long as well-heeled people are willing to invest big-time in football clubs, the market will always be thriving. Is he saying all these big-name players are forever gonna be beyond our reach and we are condemned to trawling for minnows? If so, why in Vieira’s name did we move to the Emirates in the first place? He adds that his responsibility is to build a club that can be successful “not just this season and next season but also 10 and even 20 years from now”. Trouble is, Ivan, we haven’t been successful for almost half a decade, so how are we magically going to do so this coming season with so little investment and improvement? Oh, hang on here’s his next pearl of wisdom to explain it… “Our young players have some very valuable high-level experience under their belts and will be one year older and better, mentally and physically.” Yes, but the increments are minuscule – just because one of our lightweights is slightly older now and has played a few more games doesn’t mean they have suddenly transformed into a player who not only do a job when called upon but can actually change a match. We’ve heard all Gazidis’ baloney before, oozing glibly from the mouths of boardroom buffers. All of it is an excuse for complacency and not acting on AFC’s underlying problems. All of it is designed to maintain the cosy status quo – we never win anything any more but at least our board and shareholders are in the money. The fans? Hell, half of ’em are still dining out on AW’s early success while the other half (and Gazidis) fantasise about next season or the one after that etc etc

  • Jonny Neale

    This idea that football is only about the winning is one of the common themes of these miserable ‘so called’ supporters. It is no wonder they are miserable.

    This mentality immediately reminds me of the oft quoted,

    “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”.

    I’d always attributed this to Vince Lombardi the famous gridiron coach (the Super Bowl trophy was renamed The Vince Lombardi trophy in his honour, fact fans).

    Turns out it was originally coined by UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell Sanders who said,

    “Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything…Men, it’s the only thing!”

    This credo has served as counterpoint to the well known sentiment that, it’s “not that you won or lost but how you played the game,” and to the Modern Olympic creed expressed by its founder Pierre de Coubertin: “The most important thing…is not winning but taking part”.

    Winning IS important in sport – how could it not be? But the only thing?? Not even close. I feel sorry for any sad deluded individual who derives no pleasure from anything but the result. Didn’t we have enough of that mentality in the George Graham years?

    Look at the sad Chelsea fans unable to find happiness at winning the Premiership because they now had the expectation and ‘entitlement’ to win the CL as well.

    Real Madrid cannot truly ‘win’ anything this season because of their obscene buying policy. The manager could win both the CL & La Liga and still get sacked. The fans will demand ever more.

    If sport was only about winning why would the overriding memory of The Ashes in 2005 be Freddie Flintoff consoling a forlorn Brett Lee after losing a test match at the death, when requiring just 2 runs to win.

    Those who demand winning all the time at ANY cost know nothing of ‘sport’ or the enjoyment of sport at all.

  • Jonny Neale

    Lewey005 did you even read the topic of conversation today to note that you are mentioned several times??

    Are you Ma$on under a new pseudonym?

    If only pseudonym was a word meaning ‘type of heavy truck’…

  • a99

    “I cannot recall a situation in which the club has put out false news”

    ….how about “AW has as much money to spend as he wants” or “AW has £70m to spend if he wants” or “The club doesn’t need a right issue”

    – A

  • Pete the First

    I can see where you’re coming from Johnny, but taking the moral high ground all the time doesn’t necessarily work. Occasionally you need a bit of a hard edge, remember Patrick Vieira?

    It’s also very easy to disregard the achievements of George Graham. OK some of his teams were dire to watch, but I won’t forget the night I was at Anfield in 1989 in a hurry.

  • Hey guys – I forgot to say if you like my post you will be able to read it again on Team Talk. And wouldn’t you know it – it is up there already. (Not all of it, but quite a bit)

    Fame at last !!!!!!!! (copyright Tony)

  • Oh and don’t get too worried about Irishblood – he’s copied articles from Team Talk and elsewhere and we don’t allow that nasty sort of behaviour here.

    Tony

  • Marc

    Tony – Lewy005 is either a Spud fan or a moran (I suppose if he is the former it automatically makes him the latter!). I used to bite at these remarks but I realised that they are someone either on a windup or not worth my time. The giveaway is the comment about Vermaelen, a complete nobody? He was captain of Ajax at 23. Who was Vidic before ManU bought him? Who was Veira before Arsenal bought him? There are 3 domestic prizes available to the English clubs and 20 PL clubs. It stands to reason that the majority of them are not going to win anything.

  • Marc

    Tony – Sorry to go off topic but did you see the interview with Benitez yesterday. He complains about other clubs crazy spending! What do you call Johnson for £18 million? The guy is a fucking comedian.

  • TheSKAGooner

    Has anyone noticed – the papers are 0-7 now for Arsenal players leaving?

    1. Cesc isn’t leaving. RM have come out and said today that he is NOT a target, despite all the breathless reports this week. Barca say Cesc is their “back up” target, after Ribery. Yeah, that’ll tempt Cesc to leave!

    2. van Persie signed a new contract. Sorry, United, no Dutch treat for you!

    3. Ade is staying.

    4. Shava is staying. Boo hoo for Barca.

    5. Toure is staying.

    6. Gallas is staying.

    7. Clichy is staying.

    Yup. Quite a track record the red tops are putting up this close season.

  • Faron

    Looks like this Lewey bloke stole somebody elses Write up.

    Jonny, Your not one of those guys who say “its not the winning, its the taking part” are you. If your competing then your wanting to win surely. Thats what makes us a great club. George Graham has a lot to do with where we are today (You may laugh) But he won us Trophies, Which made us a bigger club than we were. AW may not of come to us then (this bit is speculation i know, but its probable).

    Where did The Guardian get there info from?

  • whos the coke head thats all i want to know

  • Jonny Neale

    Pete I’m not sure what you mean by PV and a hard edge? How does this pertain to the miserablist moaning fans who thinking winning is the only thing sport is about?

    As regards GG, I recall many happy times under his expert management but his mentality, though successful, was victory at any cost (defend for 85 minutes and try to nick it).

    It was successful for a while but I am glad we moved away from it and left it to the Bolton’s of this world.

  • ryan

    i am desperate for arsenal to win the league/champions league but the question really does arise, at what cost?

    i don’t want to see boring football or massive investment. i want to see arsenal win something with a sense of pride and achievement derrived from their philosophy which is very positive in a cynical world of football.

    how guarantied is it that buying two world class players would win us a big trophy next year? the galacticos last time didn’t win that much considering they had half the world’s best players and paid a fortune. nothing is for certain in football. that sadly includes our qualification for the cl too, so the question is finding that balance.

    the real question is just how much is wrong with our squad? we have only one or two max players missing from an absolutely top class squad and i suspect that they needn’t be especially expensive players if we do the usual thing and just look harder than the top 20 of the world player of the year awards (or should i said world players with the biggest reputation and inflated price tag awards).

    we don’t need to spend much at all on this squad and at this moment we’re eating heavily into our debt with big profits each year so our debt will not be a burden for that much longer. at any cost we should not allow usmanov to take over the club and we don’t need a massive injection of cash to throw at a pretty small problem when we have a sustainable plan going at the moment. wenger needn’t be constricted to a stupidly small budget. if he wants a 15 mil player he should be able to get him, but god knows we don’t need to throw 25 mil on overrated players.

    try not to forget that for the last 18 months we’ve missed eduardo and rosicky, rosicky is one of our best players and eduardo certainly looks like he’s the real deal too. i’dlike to see a big (and tall) dm come in but that’s all. we’ve a very deep squad if we keep what we have and bring in just one dm. short-sightedness and jealousy of clubs like city who will piss money away on overrated players will do nothing but cloud your judgement on how things really are.

  • Jonny Neale

    Faron that’s clearly NOT what I am saying!

    The two statements are diametrically opposed and both are clearly too extreme.

    You play to win and you play hard but – as a fan of sport – the point of supporting, watching and taking value from any sport has to be about more then ONLY winning.

  • Jonny Neale

    Well said Ryan.

  • Flint McCullough

    Nice article, Tony. I does seem strange that the press don’t seem to want to know about the real stories. Like you say they really are too scared by the big big guys (Fifa, Man U , Real Mad etc), who can do harm back to them.

    It is a soft option for them to have the “AFC in crisis” stories that have the likes of Lewey005 salivating.

    Lewey actually puts his case across, quite well, but in doing so reveals that he has absolutely no understanding or passion for the game of football or what it really means to get great joy out of supporting a football team. There is certainly no comprehension of what makes one so proud of our unique football club, & our truly amazing manager.

    Judging by previous periods of development, ie 71 double, Brady/O’Leary, 89-91 sides, the current crop are well advanced but more than that the level of pure talent is the deepest I have seen in 50 years. No guarantees but this lot even, if there are no more newcomers, have what it takes.

    The only downside is that these glory hunters, who think football is like Monopoly, have attached themselves to us, don’t have the patience or the wisdom to see it and they are becoming the real danger to Arsene’s outstanding project.

  • LRV

    Thanks Tony for a nice post as usual. This time I hope that News of The World gets what it deserves. As for FIFA, who will bell the cat?

    This Lewey005 character and his sidekick, a99 seem to think that everyone at Arsenal is bad for Arsenal’s health. Their idea of a good Arsenal is one in which Uzbek Usmanov can hire and fire managers like Chelsea and Real Madrid. Wow! I am sure these two clowns must have been suporters of Leeds in those days because they think the same way as the Leeds fans were. Where is leeds now?

    Clearly, Arsenal, and all those who run it, are not good enough for you; why do you stick around? If no one knows anything but you, why don’t you start your own football team and show us how to win everything? If you can’t afford that, why don’t you join those clubs that sack their managers every-so-often? You could join the Spuds you know. Besides, I hear that Man poo are still looking for supporters and you seem to like them so much. Why don’t you join them?

    Please sir(s), Kindly shove off to whichever club you feel knows what they are doing. And goodluck with your winning everything wherever you go. As for the rest of us Arsenal supporters, yes we want to win, but not at all cost. We care too deeply for the survival of our club.

  • Adam Smith

    Jonny Neale,

    go and collect your royalties from prince10 at 14.35 on teamtalk.

    Imitation is the sincerest sort of flattery,or something like that 😉

  • Sorry I wrote a piece about the Team Talk copying, and then realised Adam Smith had beaten me to it. Eagle eyed as ever Adam.

  • Lewey005

    I will put my hands up and say yes i want the club win summit, not at any cost! but to win summit…in football there called tropheys, cups and titles, in track and field there called medals, in motorsport there called plates, cups and trophys, not sure with golf and tennis, but im sure there plates cups and trophys also, fishing you win cups, swimming its medals, horseracing its cups etc etc etc….and whats the common factor?..there all sports! where there is winners and losers, of course its not like a war where theres winners and loser and the losers are killed so we dont wanna see anyone lose in that case!….but its a sport where we egg and cheer our team, favourite, country or player to win….haha cant believe i just wrote that winston churchil style speech

  • Lewey005

    Tony you are mad to think Man utd and Liverpool will end up like leeds. There wil always be someone willing to buy both of those clubs because of their worldwide profit margins. Man utd rival Real for revenue worldwide although they dont have Spain to Guarentee them (as real do, they can never go bankrupt!!) All i’m saying is the board are happy that we qualify for champs league, they dont want anything else, they wont spend the money and the youth policy is a failure, 4 years without a trophy just isn’t good enough. I’ll support arsenal for as long as i’m around but i’m fed up with the excuses coming out of the club year in year out.

    you make a good post but for me i dont see people demanding winning i see people demanding progress. the league table shows going from an unbeaten team to a perennial 4th place finisher. the top 3 doubt even look at us a threat for the league anymore because we are not. my issue is i feel wenger has disassembled a successful team, made poor judgement calls and is leading us the wrong way. i dont demand trophies but i demand competitiveness and progress, even if you have the odd year out 4 years in a row of steady decline from where we were 5 years ago is not good enough for me.

  • Faron

    Jonny, Fair enough. dont get me wrong i love the way we play. Its just i remember a time when Chelski also USED to play fast attacking football when they had Zola, before they went to the dark side. But they had no end product. they didnt win ANYTHING. We need to get that balance back like in 2002 and 2004 where we were beating teams and winning trophy’s. I AM looking forward to the future when we have the likes of lil JW and Vela running amock. but i think we need to address what is happening now or we will be left behind. And no i dont think spending loads of money is the way of doing things. AW needs to get someone oldish and good in on the cheap. Im not talking silvestre good (big mistake) im talking someone like gattuso.

    i started ranting. i do apologise. but as i have written it. it would be a waste if i didnt submit it

  • arsenal tone

    tony, some wag at arsenal vision has nicked your idea re usmanov buying-up the highbury development. have these people no shame!

    http://www.arsenalvision.co.uk/yourvision.php?articleid=1252

  • Jonny Neale

    No need for apologies :)! It’s all good banter.

    At least you didn’t compare yourself to Winston Churchill!

    I agree I want the team to win and I am not myopic to think AW doesn’t have idiosyncratic flaws, has not made mistakes or that we could do without a real Gattuso style battler.

    Nonetheless there is a difference between the reasons I watch sport which are multifarious and solely wanting to win. If winning was really all that mattered we should all have jumped ship to support Man Utd a long time ago.

    I could go on, but Flint McCullough has already put part of what I was failing to convey, far more eloquently and succinctly (just a few posts above).

  • mingus

    When a newspaper uses the author “staff writer” or something else anonymous, as in this story in today’s Mail:
    `’Gunner return? Barca to offer Alexander Hleb in bid for Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas
    By SPORTSMAIL REPORTER`…..alarm bells should ring. It doesn’t take much thoght to realise the story is clearly rubbish.
    As I am fed up with, not so much newspaper lies, but the journalists being unaccountable, and free from any sort of challenge, does anyone know if a law could be passed (in the spirit of greater transparency), so that the term “staff reporter” for example.. can never be used again?

  • TheSKAGooner

    Mingus –

    In the spirit of transparency, I think the Sun should substitute any article written by Anthony Kastrinakis with “From Barcelona FC PR Dept” as the author. At least then the Sun would be transparent about their assistance in tapping up Cesc.

  • Christianjimmy

    “I will put my hands up and say yes i want the club win summit, not at any cost! but to win summit…in football there called tropheys, cups and titles”
    No Lewey005, in football they’re called trophies…

    “where there is winners and losers, of course its not like a war where theres winners and loser and the losers are killed so we dont wanna see anyone lose in that case!….but its a sport where we egg and cheer our team, favourite, country or player to win….haha cant believe i just wrote that winston churchil style speech”
    No, nor can I. nor can Winston either I’m sure!

    “my issue is i feel wenger has disassembled a successful team, made poor judgement calls and is leading us the wrong way. i dont demand trophies but i demand competitiveness and progress”
    errr… didnt you just demand trophies in the post above? “to win summit” as you so delightfully put it!

    Jonny Neale put it much better than I could hope to with his point about the overriding memory of 2005 ashes… sport is about much more than results. football is about much more than results. otherwise why would people bother going to matches? might as well stay home and look up the results on the web. Might as well follow New Zealand in the Oceania WC qualifiers. Might as well [i]anyone[/i] who is [i]guaranteed[/i] to win a competition.
    Sure we want to win, but we want to enjoy the visceral pleasure of doing it.
    Thats why kids rarely stick with the glory-teams they pick when they’re 8 and in the playgrounds with their friends. They never get to experience the true joys of football, so the thrill of the win wears off. For a true fan of a team though there’s investment involved – effort, times, money spent on following the team – and the payoff when the team wins is all the greater for it.
    How much sweeter is winning the league going to be knowing that we havent mortgaged our souls to the devil for it, but have won it through honest endeavour?!
    Deferred gratitude is a sign of maturity. I am willing to put up with not winning last seeason and not spending millions we dont have, in order to build a team which will win many trophies over the next decade while all the short term merchants plummit to join leeds in the 3rd tier of english football!

  • Jonny Neale

    Thanks Christianjimmy, though you do yourself a disservice you raise your own points very well and you disassembled the conflicted chuntering of 005 – which I wanted to do, but couldn’t raise the strength.

    You go to the heart of what I meant by saying we might as well just look up the results at home – save all the nonsense stuff in between (it just gets in the way after all).

    To echo your closing points, one of my close friends is a die hard West Ham fan and I have seen him go through more heartache, despair, elation, schadenfreude, anger, bewilderment, surprise, agony and ecstasy than any other of my other football fan friends. In many ways I am jealous of him. I have witnessed that the joy of surviving a final day flirt with relegation is greater than winning any trophy – because it is tinged with the sort of utter desperation which most Arsenal fans are lucky (or unlucky) enough to never have experienced. Winning the FA Cup would mean so much more to him than it would to me as an Arsenal and if that sounds patronising it isn’t meant to be. It’s understandable, in the same way that Chelsea fans became disappointed with ONLY wining the Premier League. In this way I cannot understand what a Real Madrid fan truly has to look forward to this season – expectation by the bucketful and bitterness if it doesn’t go right. What a poisoned chalice.

    As I wrote once before, the mountain of victory tastes far sweeter when you hath drunk from the valley of despair…

  • steww

    All I would ask these impatient, unrealistic, ‘winning is the only thing’ fans is this: would you still be supporting Arsenal if they were one day to end up relegated a couple of times? Now – calm down it’ll not happen under the current board and manager. But just say we were in Division 4 (as people of my age will always call it) I and I suspect most people who post here would still support the club with undiminished passion. Not because we are losers who will settle for anything but because we love and support the team, always have, always will.
    How much sweeter Wenger’s inevitable success will be for those of us who never ever lost the faith.

  • LRV

    Bless you guys! As you say steww, if it were to happen (not that it will ever happen), the ‘Invincible Entourage’ – as I call them because many of them jumped on the Arsenal bandwagon at that time – would probably not be supporting Arsenal.

    Some of these ‘win-win-win’ merchants always conviniently forget that Arsenal was just 4 points away from wining the EPL 2 season’s ago. It is not Wenger’s fault that Hleb developed inflated Ego, only to go become a bench warmer at Barcelona; that FLAMoNey overated his own importance, became oggle-eyed and left because of a fistful of dollars. Anyway, he has now found out at AC Milan that its the other guys in the Arsenal team that made him look good; that Rosicky got a long term injury. He did his best to bring in 2 players, Nasri & Arshvin (though Arshavin wa delayed till January). Some of the players linked with us this off-season were those he desperately tried abortively to bring in last season.

    These here crew of 2009 can surprise us all. I am very hopeful.

  • jimmy

    Can I just say to all those “So Called” arsenal fans that my club is in great condition, we have the best stadium in the league, best sponsorships, best business plan, best training facilities and general infrastructure, best youth team, best women?s team, best manager and in my opinion the best set of players in the league. Now cristiano Ronaldo has left for Madrid, I honestly believe we have the best player in the league in andrey arshavin. I believe we are a bit like a Rolls Royce but without a front wheel. Everything is there and ready to go, we are just missing one important aspect to allow this machine to click in to gear and cruise, and that is a Patrick Vieira like cmf to dominate games physically and allow cesc to orchestrate. Admittedly there are few around but I do think that one player who has gone under the radar is M. Diarra of Real Madrid formerly of Lyon. He won the la liga titles with madrid and countless titles at lyon and was not part of the madrid demise last year as he was injured so is not culpable for that. He will be cheap, his experienced, his played for big clubs and he is definetly available. Others who have been mentioned such as Inler, Melo (now of Juve) Veloso are all good but I really believe everyone has missed something in M.Diarra his credentials suit our requirements perfectly. Any thoughts?

  • marich

    We seem to be dividing into those postings on who to buy, and the sudden upsurge in who will buy the club. We have very impassioned coments of “Mr Grahamlondon” and equally clear expressions of concern by “Bepa”, both of course quite valid. The recent aquisition of more shares by Kroenke is him “trumping ” the move by Usmanov and obviously there had to be more than just rejecting the the russians offer. Kroenke is just over 1% away from having to offer a takeover.Of all the people who could take over he is the best.Forget his money, and his wifes money,( better or at least equal of the others i.e. not subject to the others potential losses) focus on his sporting activities including still actually playing himself, totally unlike those at chelsea, man u, liverpool and now man city, who would buy a sheep if it kicked straight.A man who works slowly and cautiously, first gazidis, next the bright adrian ford, commercial director who intends to develop the club( as it should have been) in asia and the usa.Now we are adverising for a chief operating officer and a director of human recources. All of these things to develop the club to be worthy of the magnificent stadium, not just play there and pay off a debt. So things will change, we cannot go on being the gentlemans club, time has passed on. We don,t want to be with due respect an arabs adornment, a russians toy, an american corn chandlers business adventure, we want sportsman, who love sport, but with development and sporting aspirations for the 21 centuary

  • steven watkins

    I’m feeling pretty enthusiastic about the coming season. I’m not going to make any Scouse-esque ‘It’s our year’ declarations but think we could really be in the mix.

    We’ve signed new contracts on several of our players (RVP, Gibbs, Walcott etc) and haven’t lost anyone yet. Cesc appears to be staying despite the crys of the red tops and Adebayor…well hard to say on him. If he plays ala 07/08 keep him, if not sell.

    Second half of last season (once we were used to the departures of Hleb/Flamini and the absence of Rosicky, not to mention the useful acquisition of Arshavin) we made a lot of progress and showed championship contention form. No matter what anyone says, you lose three quarters of your first choice midfield you are going to feel it at first.

    We’ve also signed Vermaelen who looks a sturdy if unspectacular signing, Rosicky/Eduardo MIGHT (I know, I know) stay fit giving us in effect two extra squad members from last year. If we buy that elusive midfield grafter/holder we’ve got a good chance of having a run at it. Song has potential but is not quite ready yet.

    United are considerably weaker than last year regardless what any of their fans tell you, Giggs/Scholes can’t do it forever. Liverpool have p*ssed 17million on a right back not good enough for Chelsea when they really needed a back up striker. If I had to put my money on anyone this year it would probably be Chelsea as Zhirkov is a real live wire, although they are probably a striker light (who they will buy no doubt).

    Could be a tight top 5 this year.

  • mason

    Has wenger won any significant trophy? Has he replaced the previous squad adequately? Ever increasing players out of position with horrendous formation and has he improved the squad? Or has he addressed the needs of the squad? What happen to the period of transition now running at 5yrs. Is there any word that is positive so far I will answer it NO, resting on your lavers? Does it have any impact? NO again therefore his policy is negativity? You fail to see that he buys players for all the wrong reasons not only money some or rather the majority of the players should not have come in the first place. Tomas may play towards the end of the year not the start, Eddy we all hope but his chances are bleak, Song should pack up ASAP! As you said the poor start regarding LY is that the opponents are better and stronger.

    1ArseneWenger PART2 asked and answered, so why should I be content to be runners-up or semis, no that is not good enough players are paid and catered to deliver if they can not there is the door! get some with the hunger and zeal for perfection. To answer your question there is no line there are strong, dominant and hungry lot that wins and the feeble disorientated lot like wenger boys coming close and coming short where is the line? Bottom line you either win or lose nothing in between. Am not having a go at wenger but why buy rubbish players if you want to win anything? This is the main question you evade? If you can bear defeats on weekly bases that is good but??

  • mason

    Interesting point about Kroenke but I’ll counter with this. How many businessman have actually run a football club in the right manner? You need the experience of a running sport franchises and Kroenke has that. You can’t jump in thinking you know what’s up…even if you have a David Dein at your side. No one does sports marketing and entertainment better than the Americans. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool. In the US, Kroenke is well respected and he does leave his franchises to be run with minimal fuss. “Silent” Stan as they call him. This whole rights issue thing was never going to go thru. If Usmanov, and Kroenke even, want to help Arsenal now then they should just buy up all the Highbury flats freeing revenue. LOL. But in all seriousness, I don’t think Kroenke is here to take over the club. The board feel safe with him because of that. This debate about being taken over or not really will just rage on till something concrete actually happens. If there is one though, I’d rather it be Kroenke at the head of the table rather than Usmanov. I disagree that he’s in it to sell the Arsenal stakes and make a killing at the right time. I think he’s a loyal guy and has shown it in his past. He’s had opportunities to invest in other sports teams in the US but has been very vocal about supporting the Colorado economy over the years hence all the teams he owns are there…Nuggest, Crush, Rapids etc. The Glazers have always been a tad shady. So really I’m not convinced that Kroenke has a darker side till he has actually shown it. Usamanov on the other hand seems to be a posterboy for all the bad things in the Russian financial climate. At this time, I think you can see why so many Arsenal fans don’t support the Usamanov regime. Besides, do you really want a United fan at the helm?

  • Flint McCullough

    “How much sweeter Wenger’s inevitable success will be for those of us who never ever lost the faith”

    Absolutely true, Steww. It will, however, be the ‘doomers’ of today, who will make the most noise whilst conveniently forgetting how they slated these kids as they learnt their trade.

    “my issue is i feel wenger has disassembled a successful team, made poor judgement calls and is leading us the wrong way”

    The poor judgment is by Lewey, who fails to recognise that a good thing cannot go on for ever. Football success for a club, like Arsenal, has always been cyclical. The Invincibles had reached an outstanding peak, PV4 was at the centre of that team, he made it tick, but his legs were gone,certainly for the pace of the PL. Look at how many games he has actually played for Juve & Inter. DB10 was 36 & Bobby could not play consistently well in 05/06, Freddie was always injured, Cashlie turned out to be what he is, whilst TH14 wanted a fling somewhere else. The break up was inevitable.

    The question I always ask, but have never had answered, is – who were the players, at their peaks, to adequately replace those players & considering that this was at a time when CSK Fulham were buying any likely candidate at vastly inflated prices, at what price ? Come on you know betters – name names !!

    The board had the ambition, & the guts,to put our club right up there with the Real Mads & Man Us, by building a magnificent new stadium that would eventually enable us to be competitive in the transfer market, if necessary. If anyone thought that would happen immediately has to be a financial cretin. The full benefit was bound to take years.

    What would normally happen in the situation of 2006 was that a drop to upper mid table for 2/3 seasons, was likely. We however have a genuine football genius, in Arsene Wenger, who knew we had to take a novel approach, that may take a few years but would be sustainable in the medium to long term, whilst in the short term keeping us in touch with the top teams.

    To keep us in the top 4, whilst producing better results in the CL than our old team, has been outstanding.

    The sniping stick this man & this team has had from the media & a sizable number of the Arsenal anti support is beyond comprehension.

    It is like right & wrong has been turned on its head.

  • Gunner4life

    Please tell bentner to fuck off.. I’m embarrassed to c him play in an arsenal shirt

  • Jon

    Just ban the doom mngering fuckers. They are all spuds in disguise.

  • Jonny Neale

    Flint – you’ve articulated things my brain felt but didn’t quite know how to articulate. Great stuff.

    “Beyond comprehension”

    Thanks!

    J

  • Faron

    I’m not liking this saying “So called fan”. A person has a different view so he gets be-littled by these three words. People could say the same thing about “Everything is going to be all right” fan. The fact that a lot of these supporters/fans are writing in and letting people know how they feel, sureley must mean that they care about the club. Agreed there are some fans that go on rumour rather than facts, And others like Mason just come out with dribble that they have heard from somebody else. But aren’t these websites designed so Supporters can tell other Supporters there idea’s/views/worries, No? or is it some sort of internet church that everyone has to praise every single thing about the Club.

    I love this Club ever since Granddad and myself watched the 1979 FA CUP final and Mr Sunderland banged in the Winner. i was 4 @ the time.

  • steww

    Flint – I agree with Jonny, you make the case with eloquent concision. That curious red faced man up in Manchester replaced his winning teams because for years he could simply outbid everyone else. The cash cow off the Kings Road utterly distorted the transfer market and that magnificent invincible team seemed to come apart at the seams after Shrek dived to glory at OT. That Reyes couldn’t cope with being kicked around the country is a disappointment not to be overlooked as he represented a vital part of the rebuilding process, bedding in with the old guard and then being in situ when Cesc et al came of age.
    Sport is an inexact science, team sport especially so with too many variables for anything to be guaranteed. That we came so close to winning the title last year is incredible given where we were in the rebuilding cycle. To do so well in the CL and secure a top four spot last season with worse and more untimely injuries to vital personal and at such key moments than has happened to any team in all my years of following football is little short of miraculous.
    Lest we forget; throughout all this we have, at our best, produced free flowing, laugh out loud, breathtaking football on a par with that of the Brazilians of 1970 or the Dutch of ’74. I am entirely satisfied that one day I will look back on the Arsene Wenger era and know that without question I will have been honoured to have lived through the greatest period in the history of our great club.

  • steww

    Faron,
    My attitude is this. A comment on the internet is a comment in an entirely public place. If a so called fan belittles their own team in public then they are giving succour to our sworn enemies. I love reading Man U fans slagging off their manager and players, and just imagine hearing the opposition being booed by their own supporters – the battle is half won. Whatever we may shout at the tv in the sanctity of our homes, however the frustration at a missed pass or miscued shot may make us curse in the heat of the moment we don’t carry that on after the game in public. In public we nail our colours to the mast and damn well support our club. So lets hear no more mealy mouthed words about free and fair debate and discussing our ideas about which player isn’t good enough or how great players who play elsewhere would be for us. Not in public, not here. Here we are proudly biased, here we support and take strength from each other, here we keep the faith.
    Those who wish to drag our team down and publicly criticise have a plethora of blogs to feed their dubious needs. Here supporters support.

  • Faron

    Stew,
    Like i said before, the likes of Mason and their little outbursts i tend to ignore. However there have been some supporters who are actually worried and havnt seen the light, Put a good case forward regarding what went wrong in the past . But all they get from some fans on this forum is “Your not welcome” and “Those so called fans”. Yes we need to be positive, and Biased if you want to be (not my cup of tea). But we need to be realistic and look at our (The clubs) Mistakes aswell.

    My Opinion is this. This Website has the best Factual, interlectual Financial and funniest Write ups i have come across for this club. But some of the other readers just need to take those rose tinted glasses off sometimes.

  • Flint McCullough

    Some come on Faron-

    Put your case in detail.

  • steww

    Sorry Faron – being biased when it comes to supporting your football team isn’t your ‘cup of tea’??? For crying out loud that’s the essence of being a supporter isn’t it? You begin to sound like someone dressing up the basic anti support message we hear all over the net with apparently well meaning and reasonable dialogue.
    I await with interest your defence of the unbiased football fan.

  • don't believe the hype

    Hear, hear Steww at 8.03 am. That is the essence of being a supporter, which some people miss. If you don’t feel that way about your team, how can you claim to be a supporter?

  • Terence McGovern

    Faron.

    True love is uncondtional mate.

  • Faron – your comments about the editorial work here were very kind indeed, but may I take issue slightly with you on the question of the replies. As I have mentioned at the end of the Saturday piece, some of the people who are anti-Wenger or anti-current policy express this not as an argument or reasoned debate, but as a set of statements.

    I think the standard of debate here is way above that, and the irritation that many (including myself on occasion) feel is that the argument from the negative side does not exist.

    To give one example: I felt Denilson made a huge impact for the club last season, and I tried to argue my case by pointing out his remarkable style of play, of standing just off the opponent, in exactly the right spot to pick up the ball. Not a complex observation – but it tried to give a little backup to my case.

    In response we got from some people the argument that “Denilson is shit”.

    When others took this further with a clear statistical analysis of Denilson’s play, showing his excellence, we got back “you can prove anything with stats.”

    I think it is that type of statement without argument that many readers here find a bit depressing.

    Tony

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