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Wenger doesn’t need new players; he needs to spend money on some new fans

Ian’s piece brought a number of the employees of  the Ministry of Disinformation onto our site. and I though I would look for a moment at how they are working, what their current message is, and most challenging who is employing them.

In doing this I am returning to a couple of pieces posted by myself and others in the comments yesterday – apologies if you read them before, but my summary will be brief and I will try and take this further.

What these writers do is use what seems to be a common sense approach to analysis which simply does work.  To show what I mean here’s a classic from the literature of social science (an area of study in which I have my research degree, so it is an area in which I feel able to say a few things with a slight  chance that for once I might know what I am talking about).

There was a study in the US to see which men adapted best to their time in the ranks in the American armed forces in the second world war.   After the research was concluded a report was put out to the effect that the rural Americans fitted in best.  The reason suggested as that they were used to being on their own and the report said that men from rural backgrounds were usually in better spirits during the army life than soldiers from city backgrounds.

The results were then criticised for wasting government (ie public) money because it was obvious that rural men in the 1940s were accustomed to harsher living standards and more physical labour and so would of course adjust.  Obvious.  (You could imagine contemporary commentators saying “Durhhh”)

But the social scientists had been deliberately misleading the public by giving them the wrong results.  The real results were the opposite – it was the city men who were happier.  A few people were given the right results in advance and they said “what a waste of money doing this research.  Urban men are more used to work in crowded conditions in corporations, with a chairman in command, strict standards of clothing and etiquette.  The result is obvious, I could have told you that.”

My point is that common sense answers are disregarded by social scientists because they can lead you anywhere.

So to return to yesterday’s piece by Ian one writer said…

“You are missing one rather large point from your analysis and that is that Arsenal were considerably adrift of Manure, Citee and Chelski last year and so must improve the squad to catch up.”

Now looked at from the common sense point of view that is correct – we are behind and so must improve the squad to catch up.  The league table of the previous season gives a real clue as to the difference between one club and the other.

But an analysis of this concept shows it doesn’t work – or at least doesn’t always work:

In 2002/3 Arsenal ended up five points behind Manchester United. In the summer of that year the press were full of Vieira leaving. It was the back page headline every day of the close season. Arsenal were in deep trouble because no one would come to Arsenal and our best players were going.

What did Wenger do in such a crisis?

He sold some players. Seaman went to Man City and Luzhny went to Wolverhampton.

The transfers in were modest; some unknown 16 year old kid from Barcelona, Lehmann who was considered a lunatic, Senderos an 18 year old nobody and Clichy (ditto).

We were five points behind Manchester United and one of our best players was about to leave and we bought dross like that and an unknown Barca kid who clearly was crap otherwise the club would never have let him go.  That was the common sense view.

One year on Man U ended up 15 points behind us.

Commentators like common sense approaches like the one above, and like the two contrary answers to the military personnel question, because there is one thing they don’t require: thinking.

Actually there is a second thing they don’t require: theory.   If we want to work out how Arsenal moved from a crisis position to being 15 points ahead at the end of the next season we would have to evaluate a load of different point, try and give each one a weighting and then pull the bits and pieces together.

But that is time consuming.  So it is much easier, as another writer said, to say… “We could have bought Samba”, without asking,

a) did his club want to sell him

b) did his club want to sell him to Arsenal

c) did he want to come to Arsenal

d) did he have wage demands that were not going to cause ripples throughout the other players.

e) could he play in the system that Arsenal are devising for the new season.

f) did he have any hidden injuries

g) did he ask for his salary to be paid into a secret Virgin Islands account to by pass UK tax (something which it would be illegal for Arsenal to be involved in).

In short, simplistic common sense statements, like simple observations that we should do this or that, are usually just that: simple and simplistic.

Matters are made more complex by the fact that the data we have to work with is largely invented.  Did Arsenal make a £10m bid for someone last week?  Who know!  It appeared on one site and within an hour was everywhere.

Take a look at the rumours that appear each day on BBC Teletext service (page 302, its the bottom item each day) and make a list of them, and then see how many are true by the end of the transfer window.   About 5% by my reckoning.

Put another way, the overwhelming majority of stories are wrong, and yet they are picked up by the Disinformation Service and treated as fact. When this is combined with a reliance on common sense we have utter disinformation.

Juan Mata is about to sign, Nasri is not about to leave, we are going to sign Lucas Biglia, Mongongu is coming, as is Falcao, we going for Hazard…

I could go on as I was only half was through the list of transfers on Goonernews as a I write this, but really it is all too tedious.

The fact is that the clubs themselves are using similar weaponry on each other.  When we got Cesc in the summer of 2002 we exploited a law that says we could sign him, while Barca (under Spanish law) can’t.  When a player from South America comes to Spain he can pick up a permit to play, and indeed an EU passport very quickly.  If he comes to the UK he can’t – a disadvantage to us.   It is just one element of how the world is uneven – a more obvious one is that Chelsea and Man C have money to burn, we don’t.  So clubs play up the bits of the law and local situation that they want to and ignore the rest.

Games are played, and they are not football.    Bids are mentioned by agents, not by clubs.  Bids are put in at ludicrously low levels  just to muddy the waters.  Tottenham see that we are about to sign some kid they have never heard of, so they go in with a bigger bid just to look clever.  Arsenal pull out leaving Tottenham paying £5m for an 18 year old who has never played football in his life.

In short, remember we have a buyer and a seller here, plus an agent, and every is playing games all the time.  Nothing is true, nothing is real, until the player signs.

At Club Z you put in very low offers for three players a) b) and c).  You wouldn’t mind b) and c) but really want a).   Then you say to the club with a) “we are only taking one of these players – if you want it to be a) you should move quickly and accept our price.”   Your bluff might be called, you might end up with your second choice but at a bargain price…  It’s the stuff we all do every day in the Big Boys World.  I don’t know what world the little people in the Disinformation Service live in, but it clearly doesn’t involve any form of business negotiation in a competitive market.

Our Disinformation Service laddies see what’s going on not as a ploy, but as a real situation in which stupid Arsenal have no idea of the real value of a player and so put in bids that will never work.  In fact I am certain that over half the bids put in are just moves in a game, and not real bids at all.

Add to this the complexities of the market which involves agents who make money from moves and new contracts, and the fact that everyone is waiting to see if Chelsea, Man C or PSG want the top player before selling him (because those three pay over the odds), and you start to see the real world.

That then is the Disinformation Mix.  But it still doesn’t answer the question,  why is Arsenal on the receiving end of negative commentaries so often?

I think it is possible for Arsenal’s central position in this to be exaggerated for as Ian pointed out, most clubs have their problems at the moment…

  • Man City fans must have worries about Balotelli and Tevez
  • Chelsea fans are probably a little worried about Torres and his form
  • QPR fans must be wondering where it all went wrong so quickly
  • Tottenham are wondering if they can hold onto their best player

I could go on and on, but there’s many many more.  All clubs are going through a torrid month trying to work out who exactly will be where and when.

But to summarise, to become a believer in the Disinformation Service you have to be gullible, you have to believe in common sense, and you have to think that these things only happen at Arsenal.

And this now leads to one other point:

Is the Disinformation Service a number of like-minded folk who share a rather simplistic point of view, (and who quite often like to make up multiple email addresses and user name and hit Untold with their whimpering, while prestending to be different people?

Or are they being encouraged from without.

Anne has shown us in her article that the Sun has used one journalist to mount of a vigorous anti-Arsenal campaign, and this has fed a lot of misinformation to the Disinformation Service which they have used.  Why did the Sun do that?

There is also the fact that other papers have run and will again this season run similar campaigns.  So why?

Here’s the possible answers:

Explanation 1. Knocking Arsenal gets lots of readers, and is a better ploy in this regard than knocking various clubs.  You alienate Arsenal readers but draw in supporters of 19 other clubs who like it.

Explanation 2. It is just a special thing for the Sun as they try to recover from the hatred of the paper in the Liverpool area.  They think that by knocking a southern club they can win back Liverpool.  But then they will surely have lost Arsenal fans, so is there a benefit there?

Explanation 3. There is some sort of relationship between the media and the match fixing that we found last season.   Clearly the media must know that it is going on, and yet they are not running the story much.  I have suggested in articles that it is interesting that the major broadcaster of football (Sky) is linked to the newspaper group at the heart of phone tapping (News International), and speculated that News International journalists are under orders to stick with the private lives of footballers, and not use anything they find on match fixing.  If Arsenal is the only big club not involved in match fixing then Arsenal is a club to be worried about.

Explanation 4. Someone somewhere wants to de-stabilise Arsenal, perhaps in order to allow another club to rise, or to make Arsenal shares available at a knock down price so that a new take-over can be organised.  I have no evidence for this of course, but the way things have panned out are the ways they would pan out if this scenario were true. That does not make it true, it just keeps Explanation 4 in the frame.

Clearly whatever the reason for the existence of the Disinformation Service, those running the show know that they can get a number of others to do their dirty work for them for free.  There seems to be no end of blogs and blog writers who will write under different names, email addresses, false email addresses and IP addresses, and carry forward the Disinformation Service stories.  And there’s no end of newspapers, radio and TV stations that will do the job too.

Some are so pathetically childish in their approaches that they are laughable, but some are more sophisticated and more insidious.

I keep hoping that those predictions from one such blog about everyone giving up their season tickets at the Ems would be true, so that we could clear out all the Disinformation Service supporters and just have Arsenal supporters at the match.  I wonder how we could do that.

And I wonder who is behind all this Disinformation.

For clarity can I point out that this is an article about the spread of Disinformation, and not about whether Mr Wenger is a good manager or why we should have bought Samba.  I think that’s fairly obvious, but I know occasionally some correspondents can make a mistake and start sending in commentaries about other matters.

Listening to people outside England gives you a different picture

The Summer of our Discontent: how Arsenal are falling behind everyone else.

Ryo Miyaichi: who checks the passport. Oh no oh no oh no!!!

Arsenal players at the under 20 world cup and the under 18 European cup this summer

The 2011/12 Arsenal squad could be the biggest squad ever

119 comments to Wenger doesn’t need new players; he needs to spend money on some new fans

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Arsenal isn’t really part of the media-football cartel. Therefore there’s option 5, the maintenance of the status quo. Or option 6, all of the above.

  • Amr

    nice article, agreed with most of it. I’d vote for option 6 by Woolwich 🙂

  • arsene-al

    Bravo mate, bullseye. Wish more people get a chance to read this, but then as you said in your closing comments people are just going to sign on and say “wenger out” because they either don’t have the brain cells to use some logic or they just want to perpetuate the disinformation system. Its funny though that common sense wouldn’t ask some of the questions you posed in Samba’s transfer scenario. Wouldn’t the first thing you ask yourself be does he want to leave and would his club let him? Unfortunately for some when they hear the word transfer they smell blood in the water and just go into a transfer craving frenzy

  • BOOZY

    As usual everyone else is to blame except arsene and co.

    Carry on

  • IvoryGoonz

    Bs. Reason why rural people are more fit to American army is because if their lower education and are less likely to challenge authority.
    I guess you just want every fan to be a sheep like you.

  • Stevie E

    Great article, it seems we have fans in the strangest places… have a read of this by a Spuds fan?!? Puts most of the comments I read from Arsenal “fans” into perspective – http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football-sport/respect-where-its-due-a-tottenham-hotspur-fans-grudging-admiration-for-arsenal-and-arsene-wenger/

  • countryboy

    As i do not expect this to make it past moderation, I am just going to keep it short. “I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire. Proponents of this site should realize that there are always two sides to an argument and describing those who dont subscribe to your ideals as being gullible may be your opinion but have you considred that the same could be said of those who swallow your views without question?

  • IvoryGoonz – if ever there was a response which utterly, totally, amazingly, completely, and overwhelmingly fails to grasp even the slightest element of what an article is about it is yours.

    Congratulations, you have just won the Untold Prat of the Week, Month and Year all in one go.

  • Ivory, terribly sorry. Have just read Boozy. You are going to have to share your award.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    “Sometimes even paranoid people have enemies”

    The best bet in a capitalist society is to follow the money:
    1. Arsenal news generates huge traffic but Arsenal is not a gutter-media friendly club;
    2. English football generates huge revenues both in the UK and around the world but Arsenal is not a traditional English club in playing terms;
    3. Football clubs spend astronomic amounts of money on individual salaries and transfer fees but Arsenal is apparently parsimonious (despite our massive wage bill);
    4. Arsenal does not employ over-rated under-performing senior English internationals;
    5. Arsenal apparently does not have the marketing appeal for UEFA that Barcelona or Manchester United have;

    Add that up and what do you have?

  • Jonny

    To blame for what? Everything is coming up roses.

    Perhaps if you drank less?

    🙂

  • It is a shame when I have to feel embarrassed about these so called fans. When I read, or see these “talking points” mentioned (Again today on SKY SPORTS report on Denilson) about 6 trophy-less years etc etc.

    How fickle does it make Arsenal fans look in general? To other clubs whos fans stick by them through thick and thin, for the love of football, and the love of their team, we have a load of morons calling for the managers head!

    Forgive me If am wrong here, but Arsenal has NEVER been a dominant force for a sustained period of time, only in flurries. In fact the degree of success we saw under Wenger is something unmatched since the 1930’s. In this respect, 6 trophy-less years is NOTHING!

    I sense the these 6 years may be a necessary requirement for our next flurry of success.

    I mentioned on the article by anne the other day about the anti-Liverpool Bias from Hillsborough onwards, interesting to see how little their success has been for the last two decades!

    Im starting to think most of the UK is intellectually retarded more and more each day. If an article claims “A source said”..That does not validate it. Are people not accustomed to cross referencing, or finding actual quotes?

    This was one of the first things I noticed when I was younger. Sensationalist Headlines, “Viera off to Madrid” etc etc… yet…I could never find either quotes from the player, dates, or any real source of information!

    If a fan from any other club visited “Le Grove” for an arsenal opinion, they’d have to double check they’d hadn’t mis-spelled it tottenham. Actually, Tottenham Blogs are less malicious against Arsenal than Le grove, and I’ve had far more decent conversation with Tottenham fans than Le Grovers!

    I think first and foremost, people who love the club, love football first and foremost. Without Football there would be no ups and downs, no roller coaster rides, no edge of the seat thrills. Some people just love glory, bragging rights, speculation and the bullshit (image) that comes with it.

    I would liken it to my own field, when you go to watch a good band/Ensemble etc, you have to have an appreciation for music first and foremost. Some like to “associate”/”support” with certain artists, acts because of the public image, accumulation of success/ wealth etc.

    An obscure analogy but it works for me!

  • Jonny

    That was directed to Boozy.

    Ivor it must be very difficult to read the article with your head lodged so far up your fundament but you could at least TRY.

  • NefariousGooner

    Typical AKB arrogance and sense of self superiority. Oh we must all be gullible and simplistic if we arnt part of the zealot cheer squad for the insane Wenger must we?

  • Jonny

    On the subject of buying new fans – this seems entirely sensible.

    However do we have to sell some of our poorer fans first, in order to make new ‘better fan’ purchases? It could prove difficult.

    Many of these fans have grown accustomed to a high standard of football – in short they get it a bit too easy. They are soft and too spoilt at a young age and don’t have the appetite for the struggle – especially when the results go against them.

    Towards the end of the season they often go missing in the big games, letting their heads drop.

    We need some hungry, experienced fans. Big fans who are up for the fight. Preferably British too – none of these Johnny Foreigners who can’t stand the climate; the cold and the rain.

    It really is going to be difficult to offload these fans – who else would want to take on a fan who watches this quality of football and has seen such success but moans almost constantly??

    We’ve got this one fan Geoff, and he must be on about 50,000 moans a week. NO other club is going to want to take that burden on. He would just bring other fans down with him with that amount of moaning. I don’t think other clubs could afford it. He should never have been allowed this amount of moans in the first place. Now we’re just stuck with him and buying in a decent replacement is night on impossible.

    Maybe we could loan the D&G brigade out and scrap the youth fans too – the system obviously doesn’t work.

    If only we could dig up some of the old deceased fans – they knew what it was about.

    What a hopeless situation – we can’t even buy decent fans for the inability to offload the shit ones we have. The system is broken and it’s all YOUR fault.

  • Well here’s a surprise Countryboy you are in, and your point is perfectly fair.

    The problem I have as editor of this site is that while those of us who agree with the fundamental tenants of this site expand our views, thoughts and ideas in some considerable detail, often taking a fair amount of time to give examples and supporting evidence, those who come here to knock our views do so with simple one-liners and a lack of evidence.

    In my piece I reported the comment by a reader in which he said that our earlier argument was false because it ignored the key factor that we ended up some way behind the teams above us. My argument is that if he had just looked at some evidence he would have seen this is a non-sustainable argument because the evidence is otherwise.

    The fact is that on this site people only get banned if they abuse the writer or wander way off topic, or use multiple addresses or identities to hide the fact that one person is writing under several names.

    There is another site that holds very different views from mine, and what they do if anyone against them comes along, is change what that writer has said.

    I think in any criticism of Untold and its ethos, this broader picture should be held in view.

  • Nefarious – no, your problem is that you throw out phrases like “insane Wenger” without any evidence or background. I have presented an article of 1500 or so words, with some examples to back up what I mean, and I can say I know a little of what I am speaking about since I have a research degree in the subject.

    You have used the phrase “insane Wenger” without any explanation, or better still, evidence.

    I think that is a clear sign that you are simplistic.

  • bob

    Tony,
    Your 3rd scenario shows an intention to protect match-fixing. One obvious enemy of match fixing is video-replay. Two days ago Arsene came out for goal line technology (after FA/Scudamore endorsed it for 2012/2013 maybe 2014, not clear to me), indicating that he wanted MORE (read video replay imo, but that he was happy for a first step. Arsenal even wanted to try out the less than ideal goal line technology at this coming weekend’s Emirates Cup. The team and Arsenal have come out favoring this path – an anti-fixing path. I would hope to find that connection made clear in a UA article. It’s not about gadgetry. And as the AFC cannot say this C-word (corruption). You suggest that jornos have orders that amount to this: “to stick with the private lives of footballers, and not use anything they find on match fixing.” This black-out on any EPL-fixing would also (1) exclude articles that suggest video replay and (2) include articles that only touch on the existence of non-EPL corruption, which is actually a growing worldwide phenomenon. It is a dual strategy that fits your Scenario 3. And all that Fifa has to offer is (a) deny Arsenal’s desire to start goal-line video this very weekend; (b) offer goal line technology for the next two seasons; (c) and not a word about – nor does ANYONE in the media call for – video replay as an anti-corruption/match fixing measure. When Arsenal gets on side with it, as with FFP, as with self-sustainability, the are the target of choice (indeed, of necessity). So, to end it, this is my idea for a Scenario 3-A, a wrinkle on your 3rd one.

  • ThaatArsenalGuy

    Im sorry but you guys need to realise that The reason people expect arsenal to do well is because arsenal have shown time and time again that we can beat the best but then lose to the worst.

    This coupled with the highest ticket prices in the league more than justifies the high expectations placed on the team.

    I do not want Arsene Wenger out but simply held accountable for obvious mistake he has made.

    For example, Hold your hands up and say OK the defence cant defend set pieces, we will either buy some players who can or drill it into them until they could defend the goal against a meteor shower.

    I like many others have paid a hell of a lot of money to watch arsenal during these 6 years and understand we operate within financial restrictions but it pains me to see us so close yet so far. Wenger In, but held to account for repeatedly making the same mistakes.

  • Chris

    Hey Tony/Walter,

    Big fan of the site. However, whilst slightly off topic, can you look into voting buttons? Would be interesting to see how many people are reading the articles and agreeing/disagreeing with the comments.

    Like everyone else I can’t quite work out the media bias, neither the fans that are turning on the team. I’d have to go for explanation 1 though. Whilst I can imagine the Sun overlooking it, I can’t foresee the whole media circus overlooking match fixing. I’m not saying that there isn’t match fixing, only that it is probably done in a way that is hard to prove and for once the media are not willing to print unsolicited claims.

    Cheers

  • stanley

    A good piece of article. Wenger knows what he is doing? A group of armchair critics being paid to write cynical stories/articles about Wenger.

    I have wondered if Arsenal would have sacked Wenger, the other premier league clubs will scramble for his signature. RThis critics are lucky because in UK there is freedom of press. I hope they don’t abuse it in a way by writing nonsense which may end them up being sued for negligent misstatement.

  • Gord

    At some time in the past I ran across an observation that “common sense” is largely the sum of the prejudices we develop up to about 18 years of age. What passes for common sense depends in large part on where we grow up.

    In terms of rural people not challenging authority, I think you might find it useful to travel in northern Idaho some time. I traveled across Idaho about 10 years ago, and I don’t think there was a single traffic sign that wasn’t completely shot up.

  • bob

    Phil F,
    Does the F stand for Futuristic thinker or Forensic insight into what’s really going on in the present? I’ve been so impressed by your contribution and just thought I’d check in with you on it, rather than sink to using that all too everyday F-word reaction when they really dislike something. Not me. I ask first.

  • doc wenger

    what an arrogant, pompous, conceited set of half-wits that agree with the long-winded(yawn) garbage on this article. The biggest assumption these brainless twonks make is linking wenger-out fans (as labelled by you)with being brainless.You are so busy pontificating and philosophising you miss the obvious. These are the literary equivalent of the saying:empty vessels make the most noise!Let me remind you: trophyless for 6 seasons…4-0 lead thrown away ,2-o lead to spurs overturned(i could go on).Hardly successful stats that would prove your sickly admiration for the luckiest manager in football…the great economics and football manager AW!
    you also believe wenger to be above criticism…you are blinded like some moron shuffling around the emirates searching for the prophet!!!
    KINGS CLOTHES springs to mind!……have a great season watching tippy=tappy, scoring a goal and conceding 2 from 2 hit-and-hope attacks.
    Enjoy the touchline antics from the genius that doesnt understand how we concede from set-pieces time after time….just an embarrassment.
    oh and genius is borderline insanity..i dont know if you are familiar with that theory

  • Gooneraside

    Great idea Jonny, let’s sell all those plastic fans who seem to think that they know better than anyone or everyone else. But let’s make sure there’s a sell-on clause – they certainly won’t stay with whoever they’re sold to for very long.

  • @Tony – You’re far more generous than me at letting the bollocks float in terms of comments on this site…

    I’m more of the opinion that if it’s your first post and it’s the same old shite then you are in the spam bin.

    See ya!

  • ak47

    forgive me untold for i have sinned.
    not only did i read le’spurs but felt compelled to comment forgetting that rational thought eludes the majority over there. i was called a moron for trying to defend our club. and you know what he was spot on. i was a moron that day but for a different reason.

    knowledge is indeed power and feeling powerless i guess forces people to act like children.
    not to mention the notion that the english like a good moan.

    having just graduated myself i know how tedious research can be and understand that people would rather someone else do it but they do not realise how rewarding it can be also.

    i would go as far to say that research will release you from the herd. depending on what you look for.

    trouble is the system is perfect. and arsenal fc at face value try to go against it.

    what baffles me is that looking at the board and the people that have been affiliated with us you would think that corruption would be running throughout.

  • Adam

    The answer, as ever, lies in the trophy cabinet.

  • ak47

    i like chris’ like button suggestion.

  • steww

    Thank you thank you thank you Tony. At last a blog written by someone who can think and write and actually supports Arsenal.
    I’ve virtually stopped reading Arsenal blogs – I certainly gave up on papers and TV and radio a long long time ago but yours is an oasis, an island in a sea of lies and cretinous anti-support.
    The response of IvoryGoonz couldn’t have been a better illustration of what is wrong with our so called support if you’d made it up to illustrate the point.

  • Dave Highbury

    Hey any evidence on LE Grove/moan and the Anelka in-breds. I would like to see them taken to the cleaners.

  • Dog Face – yes I know I have broken my standard rules about who to let in, but I just felt it was so funny. The article makes the point that we need to have evidence for arguments, and people come in with, well with the replies you have seen.

    It was a bit like talking to Tim Nice But Dim (a comic character created by Harry Enfield, if you don’t know who that is).

    I don’t think I have had so much fun on this site for months. I mean it says at the end…

    For clarity can I point out that this is an article about the spread of Disinformation, and not about whether Mr Wenger is a good manager or why we should have bought Samba. I think that’s fairly obvious, but I know occasionally some correspondents can make a mistake and start sending in commentaries about other matters.

    and they still go on and on.

    Anyway Dogface sir, you are correct and I should have been moderating them out, but honestly, I was just laughing too much.

  • ak47

    adam-sad but true? maybe, im not sure. obviously seeing our team win something would be nice but would birmingham forfeit that trophy if it ment being in the pl? would the tiny tots forfeit there recent trophy to be regular cl contenders?

    in terms of money the pl hasnt been close to even ground for a very long time.

  • Jonny

    Doc Wenger – nice inarticulaterant.

    KINGS CLOTHES?? KINGS??!

    Wow that’s just like dat Coleridge’s poem about the ancient man wiv a boat and da penguin round his neck. Innit.

    Tit.

  • Adam

    a k47. I don’t see success as an either/ or situation. And I do wonder had we won that Carling Cup thingy if it would have made any difference to the naysayers. Surely the press would have brushed it off as an insignificant victory and said that the only 2 competitions that really mean anything are the CL and the PL. Personally I am inthe middle with this debate but don’t like the abuse that I see so liberally thrown about. We all have our opinions as to the way Arsenal are being run. I am an Islington boy and have been going since the 60’s so I have known good and bad times. A lot of what is happening recently doesn’t make any sense to me and I don’t like it when I feel that way. But I’ll be there through it all, regardless.

  • OK – who pulled doc wenger’s comment out of the bin? Is that you Tony sniggering behind your screen over there?

  • stanley

    Doc Wenger- Be careful of what you wish for?

    Who do you think is Wenger’s best replacement? Craps news will get to the head of those who has a half empty brain.

  • BobbyP

    Tony

    Given that you call anyone who disagrees with you ‘AAAs’, ‘under 10s’, ‘Disinformation Service’ etc, are you actually using the ‘under 10’ label ironically? Because it is under 10s who will make up labels for people who happen to disagree with them.

    Your standard defence that dissenters only produce one-line responses is clearly untrue – as you point out repeatedly, there are a number of so-called AAA blogs which produce detailed arguments. You may not agree with them, but you must accept they are more than one-liners.

    And you then resort to the equally child-like tactic of producing only 4 explanations for perceived media bias, while leaving out the clearly most obvious ‘no fixing, no bias, just Arsenal happening to not win some games of football’. Why not even present it as an option? Why be so intellectually dishonest?

    You do still manage to slip in your usual delusional idea that you have anything other than ZERO evidence for any fixing though. ‘Clearly the media must know that it is going on, and yet they are not running the story much’ Or equally clearly ‘there is nothing going on except Tony desperately trying to make excuses for Arsene not winning’. How can anyone sincerely believe in anything beyond doubt when having ZERO evidence for it? More child-like behaviour? Or is that label reserved for anyone who disagrees with Tony?

    I still remember your laughable claim that Arsenal have been denied 20 points a season by match-fixing – i.e. the 2008-9 team were the best in England in your view, with Almunia, Denilson, Bendtner, Diaby etc as first-team regulars. You do really need to lose this paranoiac fixation with anti-Arsenal conspiracy theories – your writing on the Arsenal history site shows you’re capable of so much better.

    Appreciate this post won’t last too long – maybe that’s why most of the negative comments on this site are one-liners…

  • FinnGun

    No need to buy new fans, we’ve got plenty. Or maybe a couple of world-class supporters at the most. The big problem is getting rid of the deadwood. You couldn’t sell or even give them away but what if we paid other clubs for accepting them? Could work as a Trojan horse gambit.

  • @BobbyP – loving the use of capitals for effect ‘ZERO evidence’ – although (if you’ll allow me to critique) it is getting rather boring as it appears 1.64567 times (on average) across everything you post here.

    Oh but there was that statistical analysis bit that I did with Zach that showed a significant QUANTIFIABLE bias from certain EPL referee’s… so – hmm.

  • ak47

    indeed adam through thick and thin.

  • walter

    BobbyP,
    Untold is rather powerless in ways of searching some match fixing things for example we cannot use phone tapping as we are not from the police.
    And this is the way that the authorities could find match fixings in Italy, Greece, ….. so we cannot do these things and prove things. How I would love to hear the conversations in the PGMOL circles….

    So we can only come up with circumstantial evidence (as it is called I think) by showing at the things we can see (that is if you want to see). I think my mild counting was a lost 13 points because of the refs last season. Honest or deliberate mistakes(?) from the refs. I don’t know but the thought of the ‘it will even out at the end of the season for each team’ is totally untrue for Arsenal.
    That is what I have seen and many other people have seen. And still people will wave it away and say: nah, it will even out.

    But I ask them: okay give me your evidence on the evening out. But nobody so far has given me any evidence. Or even tried to give me some evidence. Or maybe they started, noticed it didn’t even out and gave it up?

  • Gary

    Tony, you have had your laugh for the day, now please don’t allow these idiots to spoil one of the few remaining Arsenal (as opposed to anti-arsenal) blogs.

  • BobbyP

    bob

    Some examples of ‘evening out’ in major finals/games:

    2006: Eboue wins a free-kick with a dive in the Champions League final, Campbell scores
    2008: Adebayor scores a handball goal v United at Old Trafford in a vital League game (Arsenal would have won the league if we won that game)
    2011: Szczesny escapes a sending off thanks to an incorrect offside decision, Carling Cup Final

    The reason you don’t hear ‘lucky Arsenal’ or about it evening up is because we somehow managed to lose all three games – i.e. our favourable decisions count for nothing, because we still lose…

    DogFace

    Your survey showed bias, but did not show match-fixing – and not anti-Arsenal bias, as much as pro-Chelsea/United bias. (and to be critical, while I do appreciate the rigour and methodology, the measure you used was self-created, and the research was performed by two Arsenal fans with no independent peer review).

    But it still showed ZERO evidence for match-fixing. I capitalise to emphasise the irrefutable fact – yet some people (i.e. Tony and Walter) still state this as an indisputable fact. Why does no-one else call them up on this? Why are you more concerned about my use of capitals than their mad delusions of mass conspiracies?

  • BobbyP

    Apologies, first reply was to Walter, not bob

  • FunGunner

    Excellent piece, Tony. And I see some of the AAA are living down to their reputation.

    @Jonny
    July 27th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
    Very funny riposte.

  • critic

    hurray!! At least my comment got published as a headline of an untold arsenal’s article.
    Hurray!!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Adam

    I don’t see how how someone having a different opinion and expressing it intelligently and without recourse to insults, is spoiling the blog. I have observed the in-crowd mentality that seems to cause people to become blog police who encourage those that speak against the body politic to be turned on and demeaned. It is an unattractive trait that says more about those doing it than those who are being savaged. I thought Bobby P made some interesting points but he doesn’t share the views of others so you want to belittle him. I don’t get that at all. Surely, as long as contributors are respectful, their views should be allowed. A good blog could be considered a forum for ideas to be exchanged. Not the sort of stuff you see on Le Grove where a feeding frenzy of sickness and repulsive characters seem to hold sway. I agree with some of Tony’s writings and not with others but, once you start categorizing people ie he’s with us, but he is not, so let’s give him a silly name and outcast him there isn’t really anywhere to go.

  • Rog B

    teletext page is actually 303 on BBC, well done critic your finally famous

  • Ugandan Goon

    @tony,
    I had almost forgotten that you had been moderating the site, but i am amazed at the pseudo philosophical defences some people are putting up for some clearly deranged posters, i think you are going to have to install a sort of paywall with cretinometer so that depending on any visitors ability to follow an argument or colour within the line they are directed to the appropriate part of the site.
    Just how good do they think it feels to have your work defaced by the frankly disrespectful responses we sometimes get on here?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Doc Wenger,
    You are a fool!

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    We’ve had some discussions before, and unfortunately you left just when it got interesting.. I hope you’d go back and look at it because I enjoyed debating those with you..

    About the first post you put up here, I didn’t agree with it, but as has been mentioned later, you made your points in a proper way.. What was incredibly sneaky of you though, was putting in that last bit about the post not lasting long on the site. That was unfair, and unnecessary.

  • bob

    Bobby P,
    You toss around demeaning psychological labels like their Dowd slating Arsenal: “child-like” “usual delusional idea” “paranoiac fixation,” and so forth. Unlike your arsenal of brickbats, Tony and Walter do not present arguments in an evidence-free zone. The entire body of work over the past season alone offers evidence, analysis, hypotheses and conclusions, and it does so as you well know with passion as well as cool-headed presentation. What you do is toss around your labels from on high and do not present any evidence or facts to counter today’s argument, for one example. The four scenarios are all built up as distillations from previous evidence. They are presented as summaries of positions, not as absolute conclusions. You too have a position, whether you are polite, or capitalize the word zero. (I am sorely tempted to do the same, mind you.) What your “psychological” intervention-diagnosis amounts to today is nothing. Some sweat equity and thought beyond falling back on these ingrained cliches that are supposed to amount to something would be more honest and help push an analysis forward. We could benefit from each other’s facts and analysis if you were actually game for that. Basically, you’re doing name calling to counteract what you reduce to saying is Tony’s/UA’s name calling. UA goes far beyond name-calling and you know it. Perhaps it’s time (dare I risk it, Dr. Freud?) you measured up to that standard. Absent any evidence to counter what’s been asserted here over the last month – summarized in part by today’s article – I have to wonder where you stand on the substantive issues raised today. But you don’t engage any of them: that’s the “beauty” of your psycho-babble – you don’t have to risk any counter-evidence really and be open to counter-argument in return. You’re just hiding whatever you do or might have to say, if anything, all behind your jargon. So, if you have a full or partial analysis of last season, what does it come down to? And what evidence/counter-examples would you offer to counter, undermine, disprove, destroy today’s scenarios; which, to remind us both, are based on at least a year long’s body of accumulating work, such as: Walter’s end of season report; Dogface’s pre-match predictions; Tony’s corruption citations; Anne’s media content-analyses. Say something specific about any of it so that there could be a reasonable give and take, without name-calling if you like, and let’s not underestimate each other in the process. Maybe we’ll all then get somewhere beyond an angry stand-off that does no one any good.

  • Shard

    Also Bobby P

    There is evidence to suggest match fixing.. Circumstantial evidence as Walter pointed out.. And no more than that, but that is the ONLY evidence you can get without having the powers of the state behind you..

    The reason you call out Tony on this is not because he is wrong, but because he can never be proved right in this regard. Not by him, or anyone on this site. But how does that affect the objectivity of the site though. Every blog offers you some opinion which if it is all you read can read as fact. It is a blog after all. People expressing their opinions. Does Tony deny Arsenal’s weaknesses when he says this? No because he clearly says that is not what he is talking about. Does he say that it is Arsenal specific? Not really. Just that he has noticed it in regard to Arsenal.

    You may feel you are offering up a different view and that is true. But what you are not doing is offering up any theory. Other than a chaos theory in which things just happen. If that is you’re theory then well, you can’t be proven wrong, but accept that you can’t be proven right.

    Match fixing just makes more sense than the accidental happenings concept. For one, it has been KNOWN to happen in European football and with startling regularity. They aren’t one off instances. If you look at how the Premier League is governed, what makes you say that it can’t or isn’t happening here? If you’re theory is right, let’s see how you deal with the onus of providing proof being on you.

  • bob

    Bobby P,
    You call Tony’s list of scenarios “intellectually dishonest” because no fixing, or coincidence, or just happened to lose are not added to the list. You know fully well that UA, again, as a body of work, has mounted a persistent and consistent challenge to all those. You know that going in. So I see you have offered a trio of counter-examples to support your stuff happens and Arsenal can get away with bad calls too. No doubt. But if you were “intellectually honest” do you think these 3 cherry-picked examples provide anything that even approaches a counter-balance to the preponderance of evidence that’s been amassed here over the course of the last season? Why not take it on to write an article that makes your case using specific evidence or raising doubts about some or any of the hypotheses that have been advanced here today, or for months and months on end? Or prepare a few long entries to make that case and insert them in the near future and let people consider them and have a go at it. Anything besides your string of shrink-wrapped pscyhological slurs that simply don’t pass for analysis.

  • I feel slighty embarrassed leaving such a short post.

  • BobbyP

    @Shard

    Since that post, all my posts are now moderated – seems that Tony does actually prefer the one-liners to the educated responses, despite his protestations. So my last comment was more prescient than unfair.

    I enjoyed conversing with you too, but asking me to prove a conspiracy isn’t happen is impossible, just as me asking you to prove 9/11 wasn’t a cover-up is impossible. It is always up to the person making an out of the ordinary assertion to prove it, and rightly so

  • walter

    Bobby P, and now the league please…

    You came up with 3 events over 5 seasons where we have been lucky. And I will not even disagree with this. But don’t hold you back to take on other decisions going our way. By the way in the 13 points total I also included the decisions going our way this season. Like the second goal against Fulham this season at the Emirates. I did take this in to the total account

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    I would happily make a more detailed post, but seeing as my posts are now moderated (not sure what site rule I broke, but that’s Tony’s prerogative) it doesn’t seem worth the effort. Guess detailed criticism is more than his position can stand though…

  • bob

    Chris the Gooner,
    so sorry to make you sweat.

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    Aahh..but you see..Match fixing in football isn’t so out of the ordinary at all anymore is it?

  • Shard

    Also you just took my argument and made the same one.. I said it can’t be proved, neither can it be disproved..Only disregarded.. You made the same argument about not being able to disprove any ‘conspiracy’.. What do you think the word ‘conspiracy’ actually means? I’m going to look up the dictionary now, but I know what the implication is.. By definition, anyone calling conspiracy then becomes someone who is a conspiracy theorist and deserves a likely spot in the loony bin.. It is an easy way to defame anyone who might have some legitimate points about certain happenings. Call what is happening a conspiracy..

  • @BobbyP – Pesonally I believe that there is ZERO evidence that the League is honest… and until you present that to me; then your argument is moot.

    The paradigm has shifted somewhat on these pages… but that is only because we are ahead of the curve on such matters.

    Once there was a time when people thought wrestling wasn’t fixed.. now most believe it is despite the lack of evidence – although there are still some who will maintain that WWE represents a ‘competitive sport’.

    So what we have is two points of view – one that the EPL is squeaky clean and one that it’s as bent as a snake in a jam jar.

    Personally, until the unregulated gravy train that’s taylor made for corruption starts popping in a few safeguards against going off the rails, I’m opting for the latter.

    If you would like to provide 24 hour surveillance tapes, phone taps and copies of all electronic transmissions for all major players in the EPL for an entire season to prove me wrong then I’ll hold my hands up and say ‘yup – well blow me down, you were right’.

    Until that day I will regard you as something of an apologist or slightly naive (no offence, feel free to counter by calling me a ‘tin-foil hatter’ or whatever) and, incidentally, a tad masochistic in so much as you actively partake in ‘pissing in the wind’ with your strongly worded comments on a site that are diametrically opposed to the community it supports.

  • Shard

    @DogFace

    What’s Sammy doing in a jar of jam is what I’m really interested in 🙂

  • BobbyP

    @Shard/DogFace

    You’re missing the point – the burden of proof is always on the person making the assertion. From Wikipedia (Philosophical burden of proof article):

    ‘When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim’

    The claim here is clearly match-fixing; this is recognized by courts/media/authorities etc around the world. No-one ever needs to provide evidence to prove ‘non-match-fixing’ in court…

    Hence the burden of proof is on your side, and (without capitalisation…) there has been zero so far.

    Shard – the belief that referees/FA/media etc are all anti-Arsenal is clearly a conspiracy theory, by any definition. Won’t comment on the loony bin in your case though…

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    Your comment re ‘strongly worded comments on a site that are diametrically opposed to the community it supports.’ is fair to some extent – however I’m not anti-Arsenal or anti-Wenger in any way, so I’m not opposed to the supposed ethos of this site. It just frustrates me the way Tony has to mention ‘match-fixing’ in every single article, as if it’s a definite proven fact. Can one not be pro-Wenger without believing in an unproven conspiracy?

  • “You’re missing the point – the burden of proof is always on the person making the assertion.”

    Yes – and your assertion is that the EPL is free of corruption – so go on then… prove it!

    🙂

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    The ‘claim’ as far as I know it is this. Refereeing decisions have cost Arsenal matches and games are refereed in a certain pattern which favours certain teams.. Any problems with that so far? If so, we can debate the specifics, especially as already outlined in Walter’s ref reports, and Dogface and Zach’s analysis. If you have something further to add to it, you are welcome.

    The second part is the theory of why such a thing (as the claim) may be happening. Here, there are many other explanations rather than match fixing. So the referees are biased, or inept. That raises other questions like how are the referees selected? What if anything is done to make them accountable for their ineptitude? If you have been a regular on this site, you would know that those possibilities and issues have been discussed, and in very great detail as well.

    Now why the view that match fixing is a very real, and a very probable factor as well. Mainly that it happens, and that nothing it seems prevents it from happening in England as well, combined with the rest of the circumstantial evidence, including nothing being done about the clear ineptitude (if that’s what you want to call it) of the officials in certain cases..

    Now forget talk of conspiracy, and about anti-Arsenal or anything.. Just tell me this. What is there to prevent match fixing from taking place in England?

    I’ll tell you, in short what is there that makes it likely that it exists in England too. A raft of shoddy decisions, a lack of reporting of these and acceptance of it as an acceptable return, non transparency of the method of appointments of referees, officials, and FA members, huge swathes of money involved, owners who have past or present criminal charges against them and a general lack of adequate rules of knowing who the real owners might be (something the Football League chairman openly acknowledges),and you know..I may have missed a thing or two, but these will suffice for now.. So..what actually counts against all of these factors and makes English football incorruptible?

  • Jas777

    Maybe just maybe the reason is that the players especially the defenders are just not good enough.

    And that the league has worked out how to combat Arsenal.

    And isn’t the most important question why did Arsenal only win 2 of their last 10 games and what needs to be done to fix this

  • Shard

    @Jas

    Is 777 the number the Devil gives to his advocate?

  • @Jas777 – just schedule them on a Super Sunday and there’s bound to be an upset… maximum exposure to the Asian and European markets.

  • Shard

    @Dogface

    Just occurred to me..regarding some people posting under different names.. Have we ever had a hariwool on this site? Because I was actually told to go back to Untold (oh the irony) when I challenged a post by him on some other site..

  • bob

    Yes, Bobby P, there should be and is no need to salute an unproven conspiracy. But the fact is you only rely on an unproven, evidence-free coincidence theory. And “rightly so” you add, because to propose that there’s likely a manipulative plan in the wings is “out of the ordinary.” Well, assuming you don’t read even the tabloids, that’s just a built in act of faith on your part. How many conspiracies do you need to read about and still scream “conspiracy theorist” at anyone who actually tries to marshall existing evidence to show that there may well be one at work. Fact is that you can’t account for all of the anomalies that have been accumulating over the past season and described by UA by saying it all comes down to “coincidence” and bollocks to that, until there’s absolute proof.

    Bobby P, you could do something far more constructive (if you actually wanted to) if you didn’t try to disprove an “entire conspiracy” that isn’t proven (by your definition of proof); but, instead, engage with examining any of the specific possible examples that have shown up hereabouts for months now. Until you do that you’re just playing a game that sits back on the comforts of the way things are and says “prove to me – with absolute proof – that they are not what the tabloid media, and federations and PGMOL and Antony K. of the Sun and Bladder/Scudamore/Platini say they are.” Well (pardon my French), screw that demand for absolute proof. Counter-evidence to them has been marshaled here and it’s on you, if you were “intellectually honest” (your phrase vs. Tony) to engage with that evidence; not sit back and say no need to consider anything or engage anything that’s not Absolutely Proven. So all you wind up doing here is sniping from a very protected and unengaged position with your shopworn psychological labels, all full of sound and fury (as the Bard says,) but signifying nothing. If you’d really weigh in instead of hiding behind slurs like “paranoid fantasies,” then you actually could prove that they ARE (omg, caps!) paranoid fantasies instead of demanding absolute proof by the “paranoids” that they themselves are not paranoid. I could just as well make the equally unprovable argument that you, BobbyP, have a paranoid fantasy that things really are the way that the aforementioned cast of characters (Bladder, etc.) actually say they are – and, that your paranoia is that if you did not believe in what these authorities tell you it is, then you would be punished. Now I admit to my own psycho-babbling here; but, you see, it’s really stupid and unfair and evidence-free of me to do so. So I don’t (whether it’s true or not), and only you would know that, I guess). Anyway, why not come out into the sandbox and engage with real evidence and thoughtful analysis with the rest of the mere mortals – rather than throw labels around like daggers – and a better next time could be had by all?

  • @Shard – yes Hariwool posted under these accounts:

    courage,
    varun,
    snehal,
    hariwool,
    frodo,
    agentsmurf,
    cris,
    agent_smurf (Tottenham Hotspur),
    jefffulham,
    Dan Green,
    livestrong,
    plain,
    vretou,
    khilen,
    Sharad,
    Simon,
    barry,
    James

  • Shard

    @Dogface

    How am I even supposed to remember all those names as belonging to one guy.. I read the same posting as agentsmurf on a third site so figured it was the same guy there.. Oh ya I remember snehal, varun and Sharad of course, who i specifically told to get lost since it was too close to my name 🙂

    Thanks..I think I’ll copy/paste that list anywhere I see the troll moving along.

  • bob

    Jas777,
    Even if you were totally right, it’s not proof that Arsenal not getting hard done by. Nor is it proof that the accumulated shite did not have a massively demoralizing and snowballing effect (rather than one match in isolation, then the next match, etc.) I do not feel, nor would I get pulled into defending a straw man – that Arsenal has not been a flawed side that needs changes. But that said, you can’t with honesty use that to say, aha, there’s nothing bent about how Arsenal has been dealt with on the pitch (with indications of something untoward off the pitch). To my lights, going forward, both the quality of the side and the quality and fairness of the refereeing have to be upgraded; and the latter, because it puts us at a disadvantage from the get-go, because it has cumulative despairing impact (witness RvP’s saying “we can’t win anything” as a reference to the stacked deck he perceives as per Barcelona) on us, and because it ruins football, except for sadists. Both then need fixing; but, unlike you, I don’t use perceptions like our side is not a good enough reason to deny that one reason for our defeats and draws is down to too much negative refereeing to overcome with clearcut victories.

  • bob

    Dogface,
    Did he post under the name Antony Kastrinakis?
    (Just doing me due diligence, you see.:) )

  • Shard

    LOL @bob

  • BobbyP

    @Shard

    No-one said English football is incorruptible (just look at the Grobbelaar case…), but to stretch a possibility of corruption and a few decisions going against you into match-fixing is a massive jump.

    Counter-factors to the points you raised would include a highly aggressive tabloid press (who have already uncovered match-fixing/corruption in other sports), societal factors (i.e. that type of corruption is less prevalent in England than in Italy, say), the fact the referees are professional, and relatively highly paid – plus the high-profile and large amounts of money the Premier League attracts (it is so much easier/cheaper/less risky to fix a Greek Div 2 game with no-one noticing).

    You do make some good points about the lack of transparency in English football though

  • EPL Referee salary = £60,000 p/a + apperance fees.
    Liquidity on the Asian black markes on an EPL w/e = £5,000,000,000

    It’s all relative.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    Any unusual betting patterns on the UK/Asian markets detected over the last 5 years? I know there are plenty for lower league Greek/Italian games, but I’ve never heard of that for a Premier League game

  • That’s the thing about the massive illegal gambling markets in Asia… nobody is monitoring them – but there have been a few flags on games in the european markets – although the system to flag suspicious betting patterns tends to check for large ‘against odds’ moves rather than with – so it’s not that intelligent. I beleive the system is industry regulated so I would imagine that they would only get a bee in their bonnet if they take heavy losses – other than that their industry is based upon the percieved integrity of the sport they are running a book on – or not as everyone likes a tip-off on a sure thing I reckon… not sure how gambling mentality works – if you were a gambler and you assumed corruption existed – would that make you a better bettor?

    Maybe it’s best to keep the punters in the dark about such things?

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    Apologies for not giving your post the reply it deserves, but it’s getting late here… I’d be happy to try and prove to you that no match-fixing is taking place, but what proof could I provide that would satisfy anyone here? Disproving a conspiracy theory is kind of impossible…

  • bob

    Bobby P,
    You don’t need absolute proof – just share your specific arguments, any specific examples to support them, and specific reasons for why they point you in the directions that you accept. Just engage on the topic and we will all benefit. Don’t worry about proof; just integrity of your argument and many here will engage with you with their integrity of outlook and argument. Cheers!

  • Gooner49

    I have to begin this post with a confession, I am an Arsenal junkie. I spend hours reading Gooner blogs and just about every article relating to my beloved club. This means I come across the good the bad and the ugly in terms of Arsenal blogs. I have found that there are sites that go to each extreme and obviously loads somewhere in the middle. This site is one of the most extreme pro-Wenger site I frequent and i’d say the arch enemy and opposite extreme is Le Grove. I have to admit to enjoying articles from both sites equally at times as it is obvious there is a great deal of passion behind each. However while I admit to enjoying the odd article here and there I think you’re both guilty of going to the extreme in your views. Talk of conspiracies and match fixing as explanations why we have not won anything for 5 years is for me as bad as calling Wenger an Idiot or a Liar (something that happens quite a lot on the other site).
    That said I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    It is my belief that the attitude of the players is a big factor in why we haven’t won anything for so long. There is a certain arrogance to many of them but underneath that arrogance is insecurity and fear. Arrogance in sportsman can be a fantastic attribute. It can make good players great. Henry was incredibly arrogant but that came from an amazing belief in his ability and he earned the right to be arrogant. A big problem is todays society is that Superstars are made far too quickly and too easily. Ego’s are massaged to breaking point and pockets are filled before players have done anything of note. Theo Walcott is a prime example of this. He is a polite young man, not particularly smart and not one of the best players in the world, but he already has an arrogance about him. He seems self satisfied. He’s said as much in interviews on ATVO. He said he was happy with last season on a personal level… while i understand where he’s coming from (he scored more goals and undoubtedly improved) he is a professional footballer for Arsenal FC. The team has won nothing since he arrived – he should be craving that first Trophy, he should be dissatisfied with anything that isn’t winning a trophy.

    Some people would blame Wenger for this and I think he has to take his fair share of the blame. He is after all their boss. It is his job to motivate them, to battle harden them, to beat discipline into them on the training pitch. I hope very much that the penny dropped with him during last season. He made the massive mistake to belittle set play defending, saying it is the easiest thing to fix. Well after 4 years of consistent set play weakness lets hope we see a much improved and organised defence. Lets hope our critics don’t get an excuse to beat us with the same stick they have done year after year. Lets hope we stop conceding soft goals. Lets hope we don’t crumble in the final minutes of important games. Lets hope we don’t suffer any major injuries to our best players. And lets hope Lady Luck smiles down on us and turns her back on our rivals! Heaven knows we are due some.

  • Dan AKA The Truth

    The writer has obviously never heard of Ockham’s Razor. Instead, he’s using an obscure experiment to support his blind faith in Wenger; the AKBs have got more desperate than ever!

    In all honesty, I stopped reading after the author wrote about Wenger’s previous luck in the season after we sold Seaman and Luzhny (big departures at the time – yawn!) so apologies.

    WENGER AND AKBs OUT!!!

  • Donnyfan1

    If Bobby P- or anyone else– has gone through Arsenal 10/11 tapes and totted up the balance of decisions by the ‘notorious’ refs– seen the amazing improvement in fairness of these same refs in matches not involving ManU or Arsenal and NOT come to the conclusion that there is skulduggery afoot– then the national foundation for educational research can proudly proclaim them to be an idiot! The evidence is there. Yes, an idiot could debate it and feign 20/40 vision– but a person on the top deck of a bus given that knowledge would have to say, in all honesty, something is drastically wrong. If you don’t trust Walter– get on and do it yourself! Then come back and tell us why we are wrong!

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Not to change the topic or anything, but I was looking into Malcolm Glazer and and ManU ownership issues yesterday, and I wanted you to know that I found this, just for you 🙂 :

    DODGERS NOTEBOOK: `NOTHING’ NEW ON SALE FRONT.

    Byline: Jill Painter Staff Writer

    PHILADELPHIA – The sale of the Dodgers from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to Malcolm Glazer is not yet complete and won’t be approved at the baseball owners meeting next month because it isn’t on the agenda, a source close to the situation said Tuesday.

    The Daily News first reported Glazer, who also owns the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was finalizing an agreement to purchase the Dodgers and was in exclusive negotiations.

    Glazer still has to work out issues with the NFL, namely the league’s cross-ownership rules, according to sources.

    “Our discussions with the Glazers are continuing,” News Corp. spokeswoman Teri Everett said. “Nothing has changed.”

    The owners meeting is Aug. 13-14 in Boston. The next meeting isn’t for several months, but that doesn’t mean the owners couldn’t convene by conference call after the World Series if necessary.

    News Corp. is expected to sell the team for anywhere between $375 million to $450 million, according to sources.”

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/DODGERS+NOTEBOOK%3A+%60NOTHING'+NEW+ON+SALE+FRONT.-a0106077202

    So, it appears that ManU isn’t the only sporting franchise that Glazer and Rupie have both taken an interest in…And it looks like they might possibly have had something of a business relationship in the past. Thought you’d like that 🙂

  • nemo

    i just want to make a couple of points…largely of the opinionated variety.

    firstly…i’ll just say this with regards to match-fixing, or conspiracy theories, or what-have-you…i have watched all too much in the realm of sports over my lifetime & have seen an altogether exorbitant & extraordinary amount of anomalous occurances with regards to officiating across the board. could there be malicious intent behind this? could there simply be monetary gains in mind? is there some other form of corporate punishment going on that we aren’t privy to?

    could be all of the above….could be none…now, you can call me a cynic if you like, or a :: gasp :: “conspiracy theorist,” but i have made a conscious decision on how to keep my outlook on such things & i would like to suggest that some perhaps apply this line of thought to their process.

    you see…i have formed an opinion born of deductive reasoning whereby, until such time as a pro-active, immediate, effective, resounding & sweeping action is taken to eradicate sports of “human error…” seeing as how technology is MORE than up to the task…..well…until that time arrives, i no longer live in the vacuum where sports “happen as we see it.”

    if you have a rat infestation & do nothing about it because it “would sully the tradition of household governance” to introduce technology into the equation. well sir…you’re reluctance to get rid of the infestation then leads me no other option than to believe that you either a) wish it to exist for some otherworldy reason, or b) you simply don’t think that 20 or so rats constitutes an “infestation” & refuse to spend more money on the supposed “problem.”

    if you choose option a)…then something sinister is aplot. if option b)…then you’re a nutter…plain & simple.

    having this opinion…for one thing…keeps me sane when things don’t go as they…ummm…should. i am not distracted by the irrelevance of conspiracy theories, or their more placating counterparts. i simply understand that, for whatever reason, team “a” was not meant to win this match & should simply do more to see that the score is not as close as it was.

    this leads me to my other point…

    Arsenal FC, Arsene Wenger, & the honest, true supporters of the club are under no obligation to spend willy-nilly simply because a bunch of armchair, FIFA managers all think they can do better.

    see…i have faith in the club. some people either don’t understand what that term means, or…more simply, they don’t have faith in the club. thereby…i surmise that without faith, you cannot love. if you cannot love…then how can you “support?”

    i have faith because i believed in what Arsenal FC stood for before i bought into the club…or rather…before i even knew it existed.

    i mean, as far as i can tell or research (from my seat across a land, separated by an ocean, with no connections or inside knowledge), Arsenal FC have always been a club that stand for something. they are an integrity based club that is the exact antithesis to rampant spending, spoiled players, boring, purpose-driven football, nationalized athletic bigotry, & simply put…doing it the way everyone else does it.

    after reading article upon article of how former players have lauded Arsenal FC’s approach to corruption. how they seem to have gone beyond the point of emphasizing “no one man is above the club” to where people keep mentioning that it simply IS the Arsenal club culture. that you can & will be replaced if you ever take your place to be higher than that of the club.

    all these things had me intrigued & i see them in practice with mechanical efficiency.

    certainly…there are some that simply have a 4-6-year patience barrier. i get it…you’re a fan…probably have been all your life…blah, blah. as a Redskins/Dodgers fan living in LA (without any NFL in my city for over 12 years)…trust me, i get it.

    that said…i don’t.

    i mean…i may just have an unbelievable patience barrier that exceeds the limits of mortal man. i prefer to believe that most people have REALLY short attention spans. to each his own…& all that…but here’s why i’m annoyed.

    NONE OF YOU so-called “supporters” should be misguided enough to believe that Arsenal FC will simply throw away its standard modus operandi simply to placate a few disgruntled fans. CERTAINLY you should not have convinced yourself that they would do such a thing for the pundits or for the “sake of football” or anything as equally ubiquitous.

    the reality is that they may/may not need to replace a few players. one or more of them may very well be of “world class” quality…which, as we know, is not cheap. we also know that for various reasons (most of them pertaining to FIFA’s homegrown rules), English players are uncommonly overpriced at the moment. that value can be justified to a minimal extent when you factor in experience in the EPL as a qualification of employment…but the prices still do not equate the value imho…& apparently this is the same for Mr. Wenger & the board of directors.

    this is just one point of many that keeps me feeling safe at night with respect to Arsenal FC sticking to the principles that won me over in the first place.

    one of the other major factors was the youth “movement” or as we like to refer to it stateside…the “farm system.” we have another term here as well……it’s called the “anti-Yankees.”

    there have been a few clubs that have succeeded this way with this model. the Oakland Athletics (MLB), the Florida Marlins (MLB), the Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA), & even the New England Patriots (NFL) to name a few.

    of course…some more successful than others.

    but none that i have liked. Arsenal FC take the cake for me for a couple of reasons, but let me stop at just one. the rules are different over yonder. since trades effectively don’t exist, & there’s almost no such thing as “free agency,” what you have is the most ample opportunity to utilize a farm system juggernaut. the major difference being that London is in no way a “small market” like the teams i mentioned above.

    this means that Arsenal FC are never under any obligation to “fire-sale” their matured youth projects in order to further keep the club afloat.

    will it happen from time to time? yes. will players become disenfranchised or simply bored from time to time? of course. but the beauty is that we can replace these players with ample regularity because we are not consumed in debt. we can keep playing football the Arsenal way because there is no need to satisfy our players monetarily beyond the means of the club.

    other sides have to keep their players monetarily happy in order for them to pledge allegience to their club. Arsenal FC could care less. if Nasri really wants to leave because Citeh has (illegally) promised him more than what Arsenal FC are willing to pay…….peace dude. don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    now…could this mean that instead of doing the ManUre, Chel$ki, or facist thing & simply buying his most immediate replacement from another club, Arsenal instead are meant to buy another younger player with “promise” & “potential” to take his place? yeah…probably. am i cool with that? sure…as long as Arsenal FC continue to do that.

    i’ll begin to worry we are no longer even trying to replace those which we have lost. when we are simply saying…”meh, we got $20 mil for him…we’ll let someone develop from within”…well…then i’ll begin to rethink things a bit.

    until that time, however, it is in my humble opinion that Arsenal FC know what they are doing well beyond my 2c. as long as i see a plan in place & nothing seems to be leading them astray of this plan…well…far be it from me to conjure up half-witted protestations of new management.

    you see…i support Arsenal FC…not Arsenal FC, if run by me.

  • Jas777

    Dogface,

    Maybe I am wrong here but wouldn’t Asian bookmakers won’t Manchester United to lose as a lot of the money would go on them to win every weekend? The best results for them would be Chelsea to win the league as they are not as popular as Man United or Liverpool.

  • Great article Tony, i feel that most of the trolls here are not fans of Arsenal but illiterate scumbags related to other clubs. As you mentioned its really funny to read the completely unfit comments regarding the article but i would advice not to let anymore since it really winds me up 🙂 Arsenal fans should taught some guidelines as to why they need to be proud of Arsene and their club rather than moan about it.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    It’s one thing to deny that there is a conspiracy to influence referees, that’s fine.
    It’s quite another to deny that the standard of officiating takes an incredible nose dive whenever Arsenal play and then miraculously recovers for any other teams (except when they play against Manchester United).
    There is no evidence for the first but there is a shed load of evidence for the latter. So, argue all you like about whether there is a conspiracy or not but don’t try to pretend that referees don’t cost us an incredible amount of points or that by treating Arsenal players as fair game for unacceptable tackles they cost us injured players at key points of the season.

  • Yj

    Ask any premier league club if there were matches in which they were not happy about the decisions of the referee,and you will see that all clubs will come up with a number of matches.Tony,stop making the 6 trophy-less seasons Arsenal has had the fault of a concocted match-fixing.The onus of proof is on Arsenal,and if they can’t,they should take a look in the mirror and stop accusing everybody but themselves!

  • Asian betting works slightly differently Jas – they buy/sell handicap and goals… Sundays are different as it gives maximum exposure – so yes ManU might have to ‘take one for the team’ so to speak. As I recall we beat the murky mancs in that run in – it was a Sunday and we were the long odds.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Yj
    Be careful not to get too close to the edge of the world, you might fall off!

  • Yj

    @Woolwich peripatetic
    So u don’t know simple geography(the earth is spherical and has no edge;the only fall can only be tangential and that is if I somehow defy the laws of gravity and get to the top of the sphere)yet u are crying wolf where there is none.Which coach didn’t complain about refs last season?I’ll only advice you to go and see a shrink ‘cos u live in an imaginary world.

  • WalterBroeckx

    In Italy there is once again another scandal and it involves again betting companies, and this time a former Italian international (Signori) and also games in the Serie A. Two clubs are named Chievo and Atalanta. The captain of Atalanta (Doni) is also under suspicion of selling games. And Atalanta could be put back to the lower leagues if they are found guilty.

    The thing is that in Italy after the calciopolo scandal the justice department has been very active in looking for strange things and as a result they find strange things.

    But if you don’t look for it, you will never find it

  • Shard

    bobby P

    “Counter-factors to the points you raised would include a highly aggressive tabloid press (who have already uncovered match-fixing/corruption in other sports), societal factors (i.e. that type of corruption is less prevalent in England than in Italy, say), the fact the referees are professional, and relatively highly paid – plus the high-profile and large amounts of money the Premier League attracts (it is so much easier/cheaper/less risky to fix a Greek Div 2 game with no-one noticing).”

    Ok. Tabloids you say are aggressive. Yes. They overstep the mark even at times, so you might think that they would expose this corruption because it’ll be gainful for them. Will it? Really? It’s a one time story, no matter how huge it gets, after the one time expose, it’s finished. But in the status quo, football drives their revenues up everyday. No story to report? No problem. We’ll make up a transfer rumour. All papers doing transfer stories? We’ll just create or find a story about some embarrasing bit about some footballer’s private life? Now they aren’t the smartest bunch, but the people controlling the tabloids know better than to kill the golden egg laying goose.

    Societal factors?? Uhhhh..WHAT??? So People in England are just more honest than people in Italy? Really?? That’s your argument? The only reason something like this wouldn’t happen in England is because there are laws and checks in place, which is precisely what is missing from English football. Spain and Germany have fan ownership making it harder for things to pass unseen. Here owners have free reign. The refs give no interviews unlike in Germany. Everything is behind closed doors, and there is no demand to change that? Somehow someone calling for it becomes a conspiracy theorist? It is nothing to do with Arsenal beyond the fact that we have noticed it in that regard. Possibly it could be due a multitude of factors which count against Arsenal but that is not the ‘claim’ as you call it.

    And that is where you are wrong about the EPL. The whole world including you saw the Newcastle match (among many others) Did it happen? Yes. You still don’t see the very real answer that is ready to jump out in your face if you look. That the huge money in the Premier League (which comes from so many people watching) is also a huge incentive for illegal business to thrive. Corruption follows money. This is true the world over, including in England.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Yj
    Since Liverpool suffered more from measurably poor refereeing than Arsenal last season, where does that leave you?
    Staring over the edge of a round world about to fall into the abyss.

    Arsenal fans aren’t going to cry wolf over Liverpool being hard done by, are we?

  • Dan AKA The Truth

    Hear Hear, Yj! Were referees responsible for our lack of bottle? No. Were referees responsible for Lord Wenger playing a negative 4-5-1/4-6-0 formation at home against lesser teams? Were referees responsible for the acquisitions of ‘quality’ players like Squillaci and Shitmakh? NO!

    While we all know that Mike Dean has a tendancy to give penalties away at Old Trafford for fun, let’s not pretend we don’t get the rub of the green against smaller clubs… anyone remember Mark Halsey’s famous U-turn in a game against Fulham?

    Wenger apologists construe the data to give the impression that there is a conspiracy against our club. There isn’t? If there were, do you really think the club would have kept quiet?

  • @nemo – Great post! That could be an article in itself!

  • @Woolwich Peripatetic – we haven’t modeled the data for last season… yet.

  • bob

    nemo,
    I love most of what you say.
    But your argument is a brilliant defense of non-transparency, non-accountability by management. If they did stop at replacing quality of departures with quality of promoting quality players from within, then, we agree, that would be a step too far (if I read your meaning correctly), a step that breaks with what has been AFC. If that does happen, then something will have gone awry with the money that the self-sustainability model requires to keep being self-sustaining, right? And it would take some actual degree of transparency by management, methinks, not your act of faith, to help fans rest secure in their faith. So there’s (1) faith in AFC (your position, I think), (2) AFC if managed by me (which we reject, I think), and AFC as loved by fans who want to keep AFC being AFC (which is where I am and possibly what you also do mean).

  • Yj

    Match fixing is almost as old as football itself.But if u want to proof match-fixing through circumstantial evidence,then it will be a onerous task bcos the teams u may be accusing will also bring out their own circumstantial evidence to proof that Refs were also unfavourable to them in some matches.Proving match-fixing is not a child-play and untill Arsenal or any other club proves it,this so called circumstantial evidence will have to remain at the rear for now.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @DogFace,
    I seemed to recall that you had done several seasons work on this and was extrapolating backwards. I still happen to think that the data will support this anti-Liverpool, anti-Arsenal, anti-Spurs bias.

    Actually, if you stop looking at things through red and white tinted goggles, who are the real victims? Liverpool, formerly the darling club of the English league, are involved in two horrific stadium disasters. The latter of the two is sensationally reported by, guess what, a News International newspaper. The NI brand is forever damaged in Liverpool (or rather NI perceive that to be the case). Meanwhile a new league format, to be funded by revenue from, a NI joint-venture, was in the pipeline.
    Is it coincidence that the then second biggest club in England (Manchester United) won the inaugural BSkyB funded Premier League and then kept on winning, whereas the (at the time) biggest club has failed to win the league since 1990?

  • bob

    Yj,
    Forget 6 seasons, you overstate your case. Let’s look at the last one or two. Then let’s look at this being the season of The Rednose 20th. And let’s look at the motion now afoot (noted briefly in the UK press) to make him Lord Rednose. While you bid Arsenal look in the mirror to see its flaws, which I do not oppose, I’d like you to look at the pitch and see whether, going forward, you will not find events that can be explained without the high probability that something manipulative off the pitch has been going on. If I could place that bet and you take the other side of it, I will be a very wealthy man – even as I weep when Lord Football (aka Sauron, aka Don Fergus) is anointed Lord of the Rings and becomes the permanent deity and poster image for (Roman Coliseum trumpet flare cue) The Barclay’s Premiere League. Yj, if that scenario is not one you would like to see, I’d suggest that you advocate as much for fair play as you seem to do for AFC to upgrade in quality.

  • bob

    Admin,
    I think the reason for all the italicizing is that I didn’t close my italics html tag the right way at my 1:06 posting after the words “too far” — go there and look — I expect that you can go in there and just fix the end tag after that, then resave this page if possible, and the problem will go away. I’m sorry and won’t repeat that sloppiness again.

  • bob

    Yj,
    You demand absolute proof or, absent that, require silence on the part of the conspiracy hypothesis. To that I say you are advocating that coincidence rules – surely an act of faith if, as you say, match fixing is as old as football. If that is true, as you allege it is true, then, by your logic, the working assumption should be that match-fixing is the norm and probably exists when there’s a dodgy call or non-call, and that there’s small likelihood that the calls on the pitch are not bent. You put the burden of proof on those who suspect systemic manipulation and foul play when you yourself have said “Match fixing is almost as old as football itself.” I have no absolute proof that it exists against Arsenal. We all have absolute proof that it exists worldwide this very moment in football. Yet you trumpet that UA/UM’s “all this circumstantial evidence stand to the rear.” Now this will be a drop unfair, but I think you are not exactly doing the good lord’s work with your argument, and that fair play will suffer. If you can’t stomach conspiracy hypothesizing, then try and digest, let alone refute the sound arguments that Woolwich Peripatetic has advanced today. Then let’s see where you arrive.

  • Yj

    @bob.
    I repeat it again that match-fixing is almost as old as football.Why do I say this you may ask?Its because in all levels of football right from high school to the professional leagues,referees have always been influenced.Even in my high school(I was the captain of my school team),there was a match we lost,only to discover that the ref was bribed by the other team.It is a fact that match-fixing is happening(remember that referees are human beings,and humans are easy influenced by money),but there are some issues relating to it that should not make people just jump to conclusions.The questions are:who?where?when?By who,I mean who are the teams involved and the referees in question,by where I mean where did it happen(premier league/champ league,e.t.c),and by when I mean which season and match did it happen.We know match fixing exists in football,and Italy has already been found guilty,but the fact is not all leagues and teams are involved in match fixing,and untill it can be proved that the premier league is bent,don’t let us make wild accusations yet.Do you even know that it is possible for a referee to be biased towards a team without match-fixing being involved?He may just hate the team;hence he ends up making a lot of unfavourable decisions against them.Phil Dowd comes to mind with respect to this.Yes there is match fixing in football,but we can absolutely and unequivocally say it exists in the premier league and champions league.Also a lot of teams complained bitterly about being hard done by referees in world cup matches(e.g netherland vs Spain in the final),does this mean it was also fixed.Yes officiating level in the premier league is very poor,but does this mean there is match-fixing?It is an emphatic NO.

  • Yj

    Point of correction in my last post,it is:’we can’t absolutely and unequivocally say…’not:’we can absolutely and unequivocally say’.The error is regreted.

  • bob

    Yj,
    I’m as relieved by your emphatic capitalize “no” as I am by goal line technology instead of video replay. By the way, since there’s no need to worry, where are you on adopting technology? any need for it in your worldview?

  • walter

    Yj,
    with Webb in control? yeah the possibility is very much on… 🙂

    Reminds me of my articles in which I gave all the possible reasons for refs doing strange things. And my appeal that each ref should give 3 teams he likes and more importantly 3 teams he hates at the start of his career. Because if you hate a team you can easily make yourself thinking (as a ref): “I doubt that it even was a foul but I will give it anyway against them.”

    Now in my book this is also corruption. Because it doesn’t matter why you do it (money, hate, love, …) when as a ref you don’t treat the teams in the same way you are not doing what you are supposed to do. And a ref that is breaking the rules (by disrespecting them like that) is a corrupt ref.

  • nemo

    @bob

    yes…i must clarify i reckon, that while promoting from within is the typical M/O of AFC, promotion is normally done with someone of age & ready to deal with EPL steel. we all know that the EPL is more bullish than any other league, & you NORMALLY (Cesc/Wilshire exempted)can’t bring in a 17 y/o to play injury free for a half a season…much less a full one.

    what i mean to suggest, then is that while we should go out & buy players to replace those leaving…typically i disagree that they need to be of the uber expensive “experienced” variety. this is where i truly love the AFC model…where Arsene KNOWS (this is not a theory…it is fact) that you can find same quality for much less, as long as you know how to look & what to look for.

    where i would have a problem is if we exclusively turned to ultra young players to replace our exiting superstars as this would most likely mean tougher tests of patience combined with questions of true intent.

    i’ve lived through the mishandling of the Dodgers over here in LA which, contrary to popular belief, started when the Fox group run by Murdoch ran the club. after a few years there was enough evidence mounted to suggest that they were only ever interested in reaping the profits from the 2 million per year faithfull. the only reason most fans have finally begun forgoing their seats is because fan safety has gone down the toilet, & this economy leaves one to question what better things could they be doing with their money….especially in LA.

    let’s try a little hindsight for a second & understand that he bought Cesc young, Wilshire young, Nasri (when most people went “huh?”), Song, Flamini, Hleb, Rosicky (darned injury), Eduardo (another one where people went “who?”)…etc.

    have there been bad signings? of course…but if you lay on those, you fail to see the beauty of the process.

    you see…you can afford a 3:1 success to failure ratio when you’re buying 3-4 new youngsters each year for 1/3 the price teams will pay for 1 of those players 3-4 years down the road.

    on the contrary, if you have AFC money to spend year-in-year-out, you cannot simply buy David Silva, James Milner, & Edin Dzeko in the same window & be able to afford the consequences should even one of them not pan out in the EPL…period.

    this is the space AFC exists within. if you don’t understand that, then i question how much you have been paying attention.

    i love it, personally…& i can easily wait 2-3 more years to finally have a group of AFC homegrown-ish players that want to play for the shield, finally raise a trophy or two…or three ;-P…but that’s me. i understand the philosophy & signed on as a supporter with this specific philosophy in mind. i don’t want you quick-trigger, instant gratification gluttons ruining my perfect club.

    to me…this is what it’s all about in sport.

    you raise your club, preferably with a virtuous philosophy, & while you may not match the LFC’s or ManU’s of the world…for my money, any silverware raised is exponentially more valuable than that won by those with bottomless coffers.

    anyone can buy the best players & throw them together & see what happens like a bunch of sea monkeys.

    this whole debate though makes me wonder…what do some of these people do with their religious beliefs when they are even slightly questioned by science, or corruption, anything?

    are these people just quitters?

    btw…@DogFace…i appreciate the kind words, UP THE ARSENAL!

  • Ugandan Goon

    I am not naren but just a thought for all the Untold faithful, the under tens and The lord Wenger.
    Take it away Rudyard,
    Ahem,

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

    Amen and up the Arse!

  • Yj

    @bob,I believe goal line technology will be a good technology for football.I would have been happier if FIFA allowed Arsenal to test in the Emirates cup.As for video replay,it will elongate game time and extra time may start ranging from 15 minutes to 30minutes because of the time used in viewing video replay from different camera angles.
    @Walter
    I think we are getting closer to an agreement according to your last post,and that agreement I believe is that the level of officiating is poor in the premier league,and the reason for it is because of biased refs.The reason for bias is where I think we disagree,with me insisting the reason for bias may be personal and not financial while you seem to believe it is likely financial from your past articles.

  • victor

    @Yj, The reason for the bias is irrelevant. That a referee who needs to be neutral cannot be biased and if he was biased for whatever reason, it is the head of the refs(tw*t) responsibility to ensure that the ref in question does not officiate in a game where the team he has show bias for or against plays. This does not happen and therefore the reason for a theory of corruption

  • bob

    @yj,
    You’re speaking nonsense on wasting 15-30 minutes on video replay. The fact is instant replay is ALREADY happening when anyone watches on TV. After a penalty call or goal the multiple camera angles are fast at work and shown on everyone’s tv screen. If there’s a replay referee (umpire in the sky), this is obviously available to him/her as well. And if instant replay were applied to card situations which chronically involve diving, and if the diver were to get the card – red (hopefully or yellow – then diving would be eliminated or almost driven out of the game. And that would be a SAVING of 15-30 minutes (I intentionally exaggerate to make the point) from all the drama, and physios, and stretchers, and rolling in pain, and endless theatrics, only to see the diver back on his feet in a few minutes on the sidelines. The video replay that you repeat like a robot will cost 15-30 minutes in overtime will save half that much. So your precious traditionalism is robotic nonsense, plus you are saying that getting it right, and the fairness it brings to a rotten standard of refereeing (whatever the reason) are secondary when, at least for now, they should be primary. A rather sad performance your “argument” and further failure to see that goal line technology is a way to prolong the absence of video replay.

  • bob

    @nemo,
    Labeling anyone who has an alternative analysis to yours as one of the “instant gratification gluttons” is a lazy many’s way of not dealing specifically with different alternatives to your expressed point of view. If I get it right, it’s buying 3 players on hopes that 1 is right at 1/3 the price of 1 expensive player whose failure would be a financial disaster. Now I have “been paying attention” (as you put it in your smug LA way, and I love Don Mattingly and such a shame he has to deal with such support as you act is there when you’re there because my Dodgers were hijacked by O’Malley in the dead of night, so up thine – but surely I digress). What I pay attention to is that situationally speaking, if you always rather than mostly adhere to the formula which you define as Arsenal’s way, then you will miss out on the once in a while pricey sure shot – and they do exist, so stop pretending otherwise – which could, in a given season and given situation – actually win a championship for your side. But since that would tarnish the purity of your pride in waiting 2-3 seasons as your way of life, then never make that splash is your credo. I say that is way too rigid. And while I’m in fact on your side with the 3:1 practice (if that’s really what is going on, yes), I cannot support the absolute – no exceptions – application of it. There are real difference makers who do cost a lot and once in a while it makes more sense to buy one than to wait the 3 seasons – you groundlessly promise – to win without one. Does this make me an “instant gratification glutton”? If you say yes, I “question how much you have been paying attention” say to last January’s transfer window. The “perfect” nemo from LA can be, as you know from the world of sports cliches, is too often the enemy of the good. And your perfect Arsenal is not necessarily a good Arsenal. Sorry to interrupt your perpetual renewal of the 2-3 year vow of abstinence. (And, btw, you can have your Dodgers. Just give either NY team Kershaw to repay a great city for the pain inflicted by stealing the Brooklyn Dodgers away under cover of darkness so that Hollywood could have its rooting interest.)

  • Yj

    @bob
    It seems you are oblivious of how frequently play is stopped in a match.Try counting the number of times play is stopped in the next match you watch and then multiply it by an average of 5 minutes camera review time.By the end of this test,I believe you will know that the name of the person speaking nonsense starts with ‘b’.