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Want to be treated like an idiot? Try ESPN.

By Tony Attwood

If you are old enough to remember, or if you have an interest in 20th century history, you may know that televised football back in the 1950s was a very different creature from that which we have today.

It wasn’t just that there was hardly any televised matches (just the FA Cup final and a couple of England internationals, per season were shown live.   Even the world cup matches were not shown until we played every game at Wembley in 1966).  Nor the lack of colour even.

No, it was the whole attitude to football that TV exuded; in a word it was “patronising”.

What you got was an approach from the Oxbridge educated elite that ran the BBC, which stated that football was a game played by the unwashed for the unwashed.  So, since these people were all rather bizarre and amusing, and ill-educated, one might as well show pictures of the great unwashed – the fans in their funny hats doing funny things. No one would mind because these poor saps didn’t have TVs – they spent all their cash in those awful public houses.

This was the era of the “colourful cockney characters”, where, as far as I know, anyone in the north of the country who took their image of London from TV, would have thought that half of London was Piccadilly Circus and the other half was a bunch of oddballs dressed as Pearly Queens and Kings dancing in the streets of an East End still bombed out from the second world war.

It is bizarre therefore to see ESPN propagating the old approach.  It is as if the black and white images from the 1950s were a blueprint of how football on TV should be done, rather than a dire warning about the dangers of broadcasters having their own view and talking down to an audience who knows infinitely more about football, the teams, the players and the game, than they did.

So what we got for the Boca game were pictures of the crowd.  Sometimes the same pictures over and over again.  Fat men with no tops on, attractive ladies smiling and having fun.  Yep, that will keep the viewers entertained.  Oh and when we need a variation let’s put on some children who are not watching the match at all.  (And at the end a fan shaking his head – always good to show one fan to summarise what they saw as the fan’s view of Arsenal).

And if Arsenal score a quick goal at the start of the second half?  Well, we’ll show one replay, but no more mind.  Got to get back to the crowd, because that’s what it is all about.

Oh and then some chat about how hard it is to get out of the Emirates.  Actually mate, you are quite wrong.  From my seat in block 99 on a day when the ground is full, I can stand at the final whistle and be on the platform at the underground station in five minutes.  Try doing that at White Hart Lane or Stamford Bridge or virtually any other ground.

In one sense  it sounds slightly amusing, and yet it is not, it is grotesque, a characateur, a talking down, a dismissive approach to those of us who support a team.  There was even the line from one of the “I’m superior to you” commentators about the fact that the Boca fans had yet to sample the delicacies of nightlife in Islington.

Well, chum, let me tell you, that night life in Buenos Aires is comparable to night life in the west end, if you want it to be,  (although the west end is less violent and has more theatres), but if you fancy a fairly decent meal in a reasonable restaurant, with a wide choice of food styles within easy reach, Upper Street is as good a place as you find outside the centre of most cities.  And if you want pubs overflowing into the street, with interesting beers, nice wine and different atmospheres depending on your disposition, the Angel is ok.

In essence, as a man born in the area, and who still identifies it as my homeland, I found that comment, and indeed the whole approach to the game insulting.

Of course we expect ESPN to be a mickymouse station – ever since they did that disasterous game a couple of years back when Arsenal hammered Everton 6-1 on the opening day, and they had a studio full of Evertonians.  They spent much of the game showing pictures of old gents who had been coming to the ground for 50 years and saying “what a shame it is that they can’t see an Everton win” with the implications that the old geezers can’t get out much and won’t make it to matches when it gets a bit nifty of a late afternoon, and that Arsenal were somehow just not playing the game by hammering in six.  But then we were a team of nasty foreigners who just don’t understand the rules.  (Now we are nasty Londoners who will give the innocents from B.A. a shock.  I wonder if the commentator had been there).

And that’s where we come back to the bias.  Would these commentators ever comment on what a night in Liverpool 8 would be like for the supporters of Boca?  I rather doubt it.

As for the game’s commentary (what there was of it, which wasn’t much) the notion we had was that none of us actually knew anything about Arsenal.  We were there, so the producers obviously thought, as ignoramuses who had turned on to see this quaint working class game.  Hence we needed Robbie Savage to sum up Arsenal for us pre-match, and a commentator (best call it ESPN-clone-1 since to give it a name would be an insult to the rest of the human race) who clearly has a predeliction for all sorts of other sports, but not football, and a producer with an interest in pictures of fat men, attractive women and little children.

And of course the mass media hype that a slip by one defender in a game in which we were not playing anything like our first team, tells us anything about Arsenal’s approach to the new season.

So here we are, 2011/12.  Want to be treated like an idiot?  Here’s ESPN.

Today’s possible line-up.


Sczescszschy

Sagna Vermaelen Squillaci Gibbs

Song

Rosicki, Ramsey

Vela,  Afobe, Chamakh

Listening to people outside England gives you a different picture

About goats, the rain gods, and a new Ivorian striker: Going to the 1.FC Köln

60 comments to Want to be treated like an idiot? Try ESPN.

  • Good to be a GOONAH!!

    Henry will start up front for Arsenal today. First half

  • Dave Highbury

    Lol Robbie was always such a gentleman… such a sensitive and articulate man. A genius in his time, who never wavered from his noble principals. He was so right about Gervinho. He just isn’t a central defender, and wouldn’t fair well in goal. Has any one else considered that we may need to address the issue of defending this season? It’s just that Robbie brought it up yesterday. He’s very astute you know and could be onto something here. Thought it quite astute of him to see in such fine detail during times of mass exodus and turmoil at the Arsenal. We may even be relegated.

  • zulu gooner

    good post as ever. robbie SAVAGE?! Is that a name he was born with or is it earned from his lifestyle and knowledge (or lack of) about anything? polem is – on the arsenal site we have mr positive stu robson – so what the hell do we do?

  • denny

    Hi,
    You are so right. The commentary and the summinmg up was especially poor _ Martin Keown should get a job elsewhere he is woth better than this.

    Most of the comments on Arsenal are idiotic. Savage is out of his greatly out of his depth.

  • BOOZY

    arsenal has a defensive nightmare – we turn a blind eye and criticize ESPN.
    great job.

  • sahil

    I thought the match would be live on ESPN in India too,but it wasnt.And if that wasnt enough you know what they were showing when i tuned in,the 3-1 away defeat to stoke….Fuckers!!!!!

  • Gord

    ESPN – The worldwide leader in being ESPN.

    Sorry, I didn’t see the game on TV. Did they have some guy named Tommy something-or-another doing colour commentary? He used to do ESPN coverage of Champions League games. Now I just connect to the BBC and get the telewriter output. Or any telewriter output. I am usually working when these games are on, and I don’t want a video feed. Just the commentary.

  • sahil

    And about squillacy well the guy is just poor in every way.We need to replace him.

  • mic

    Boozy,can you say the same about man u or chelsea or liverpool? Cos i ve seen worse defensive errors from these teams. The error by djourou was his only one but sadly we got punished for it. Support the players we have and if wenger brings in more players do likewise.

  • Savage pissed me right off yesterday…He was almost fanatical in his idea that “Arsenal will be lucky to finish top 4”, and seemed to criticise everything he possibly could about us? Even haircuts!

    Keown should have nutted that F[ ]cker.

    He just hated the fact every time we played against him he was getting ripped a new one by players half his ages, so he had to kick people down more so than kicking the ball.

    He brings shame to the Welsh people. Ramsey is already twice the player Savage was. End of

  • Ugandan Goon

    I had the the fantastic fortune of receiving a telephone call from my brother from across the pond that meant i watched the game without the inane chatter, but i couldn’t escape the director’s choice cuts, but even more indicative of the idiots template for arsenal reviewers was the slew of same old same old headlines that followed, i am curious as to whether there would have been much whooping had we not conceded the two goals. Boca were well beaten and as we have seen in this pre season the team seems to drop off in the second half- less pressing, the passes seem to be sloppier and people don’t track back as well as they do in the first half. different personnel doing the same thing, you get the impression they are told to go out there and do the best they can, you know have fun an don’t get injured. had we been out played at any stage during that match i would have worried, but i worried more that atkinson was chosen to ref the match, i am sorry to anyone with different sensibilities but the PGMOL frontline staff are a bigger turn off for me than savage (just). why wasn’t wilshere awarded a pen in the first half? judgement call- no red card in the match? despite the rotational fouling?- roll on technology

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ugandan Goon,
    I even wanted to get my ref review out after the first 5 minutes. But I will leave it for when it really matters. It was a definite penalty on Wilshere in the first minutes. But most of you didn’t need me to see this I think…

  • countryboy

    In Nigeria, our ESPN channel broadcasts an every weekday football show called ESPN soccernet presspass in which so called experts – Tommy Smyth, Shaka Hislop, Gabriel Marcotti and one bloke calld Robbie Mustoy analyze the game. One funny thing about the show is the first three “experts” appear to gang up on Mr. Mustoy who usually has positive things to say about arsenal. I stopped watching the show because it occured to me that the show producers had stopped pretending to be objective. Proof ? The more objective Mr. Mustoy’s apperance on the show started to dwindle.

  • Arsene-al

    @Ugandan Goon, I have to agree with you about atkinson, something stank about him yesterday. Whats funny is I didnt know who the ref was while watching the game but suspected something the whole time, only later did I find out it was atkinson and suddenly it all made sense. And, among other things, how was there only 30 seconds of extra time with 9 minutes of time wasting on boca’s part? Maybe the pre-season is there for refs to practice blind-siding us too..

  • St. Louis Gooner

    As near as I can tell, the only sport that was designed to be watched is roller derby. Everything else was invented to be played. In the U.S., our football and basketball have changed the rules and changed the rules to be more ‘fan friendly.’
    Even my beloved baseball has changed to get more people to watch, but those were mostly physical changes, not to the rules, except the dsignated hitter. They built smaller ballparks and wrapped the baseballs tighter for more home runs. It made it a worse sport to me. And oh yeah, they need big scoreboards with ‘clap’ signs and stuff, because what goes on in between the lines isn’t interesting enough.
    I suppose they think they have to do something to make soccer more watchable here. It seems to be the trend.

  • Arsene-al

    On a side note, being an arabic speaker, I watched this game online on an arabic sports channel called Al Jazeera and all the commentator did was praise Wenger and arsenal. For those who havn’t watched a game in arabic I can compare it to watching a spanish commentator on cocaine..quite a lot of fun

  • St. Louis Gooner

    PS: I didn’t see the Boca game, but you can bet I’ll be there for today’s game (10 s.m. kickoff). It’s my first change to see the club rather than just read about it since the dissapointing finish to last season. If we can still land Mata and one more defender, I think we’ll be no worse than last year, and maybe better without the distraction of Nasri and Fabergas.
    Two of my three Arsenal jerseys have Fabergas on the back (Berkamp is the other), but I think it’s time we moved on. We don’t need players who aren’t committed to the club.

  • Tahsein

    Are you out of topics to moan about? Moaning about ESPN? Really?

  • Goon

    Spot on really. The media as whole like portray everything about arsenal in a negative manner. Some fans need to wake up to this.

    Examples:

    1. Liverpool fell out of the top 4, how many times did you hear criticism of them? On the other hand we are consistently top four but get more criticism than them.

    2. When Henry left they said we would fail hard and take 3-4 years to challenge for anything. We almost won that year but instead of saying how well the manager did to rebuild a new squad, they criticize.

    3. The stability of the club is far better than those all around us. How many times is the credited by the media?

    Something’s up and those who care more about the club than their selfish wish to see silverware, will know Wenger is the best man for the job. Who else could do what he does with the same funds?

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    ESPN showed the Barclays Asia Challenge held at Hong Kong which featured Aston Villa, Chelsea etc but we don’t get to see the Emirates Cup.

    Imagine the plight of us for when one match is itself terrible coverage we get to see the whole season on ESPNStar :O in India.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Oh Dear Oh dear,
    I don’t fancy yours much Tony, trying to moderate the slew of sewerage coming this way. i suspect you’re going to look like something of a gimp trussed up head to toe in the regulation boiler suit complete with breathing apparatus.
    My sympathies and you can rely on my support but yeah, forewarned and all that.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Talking of spectacular own goals, has anybody noticed that the official site has a media watch column? Considering the amount of shit that gets printed about the club, is this an exercise in controlled opposition or what?

  • walter

    Ah, it will make Bartley stronger I think.
    Bringing Bartley one was a brave move from Wenger. It backfired on him and some part of the fans will be out in arms.
    But it will be the same who have been asking the head of Koscielny (because not good enough and Wenger gave him his head with taking him off). They have been crying out for a big English centre back (and Wenger gave them this with bringing Bartley on).

    Feel a bit sorry for Bartley but there will be live after the Emirates cup

  • wen_detta

    walter, experience English CB

    tony you admitting you are !@#$%

    koscielny: not good for carling cup only

    don’t publish my comment please

  • critic

    Tony and co.,
    I am really pissed off at booing fans at EMS. Yes they pay money for the “HIGH PRICED” tickets at EMS but that doesn’t give them any right to boo. When the whole press and may be refs are having agendas against arsenal, support from real supporters becomes all the more important. Instead, arsene and his boys get boos,whine and moaning all the time. There’s a tense cloud inside EMS all the time, certainly not helping team.

    It’s as if each AAA member wants this team to fail, so that they can say “told u so” or “in arsene we rust” etc etc.

    If i was a professional footballer i wud never go to such team where ur every mistake is booed, where i know fans are ready to boo at every opportunity. Then how the hell such fans expect any big name to sign for us.

    If one doesn’t believe in the team then why fuking waste ur “PRECIOUS HARD EARNED MONEY” to watch them and eventually boo them.

    So here’s what i am suggesting, u should run a campaign “Kick The Booing Out Of EMS”. Fans should encourage their team, clap, dance and have a good time till the final whistle of the season is blown. Then arsenal board can put a “boo meter” at EMS and ppl can boo all they want to know the dissatisfaction level of fans.

    Or am i also conned by the media?

  • critic

    This is a very important or dare i say “MAKE OR BREAK” season for arsene and this current arsenal team. Get behind the team. If we don’t believe we can win the title they who will? And i mean “believe” not “hope”.

    Get behind the team u morons(selective), it doesn’t matter how old they are, what nationality they have, how new they are. What matters is how much they believe and believe me belief is infectious and must start with u…yes u……

  • Shard

    critic- you and I have had some differences in the past, but in this regard I am entirely with you.

    You are also right that a professional player would not want to come to a club where fans are so ready to boo them.. I remember Henry talking about the club. And he said that one reason he felt so home at the club, that he belonged here was that fans NEVER turn on the team. If he makes a mistake, or misses an easy goal even then the fans won’t boo him. They’ll be disappointed, but will share that disappointment WITH the player, and never HATE on the player.

    I swear the fans having been fed with the constant media nonsense, have become a sorry bunch. We saw that last year that even when the team was going for the title, the fans, the ones who are supposed to want the title more than anything and believe against everything that they will win, were the ones saying that it won’t happen.

  • RedGooner

    I am not someone that Boo’s the team and disagree with it.
    The system we play currently has me more annoyed than anything.
    It leaves defenders out of position all the time allows them to
    much attacking freedom and no one covers when the wing backs go forward.
    Our current system is also struggling to open teams no matter where they are from and its a concern it seems others can defend well against it without exactly pressuring us.
    Im not sure why we played Eboue either if he

  • RedGooner

    continued.

    If he is upposedly leaving us..

  • menace

    another mess!!! we keep looking to buy players when what we need are referees!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think I can just use my last season conclusions again if the refs keep on doing like they did in those two days. Now I’m not making a big thing out of this for the moment but if this would have been two league games I would have, once again come to the conclusion that we didn’t get two penalties..

    Same old referees, always cheating….

    Please guys shout this whenever the ref is doing it again…

  • Let me introduce myself. I’m brazilian Arsenal supporter since 1989, when The Gunners was champions beating Liverpool. I was born in the beautiful island of São Luís do Maranhão, very far from the Island of Great Britain. My dream is to visit the Emirates Stadium with my family (wife and two kids) and see Arsenal play. I have to save a lot of money. One day my dream come true. I’m always visiting this blog. I love the Arsenal!

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    Hopefully if you keep raising the point it will start to gain a response. I think it will…

  • Anne

    @St. Louis Gooner:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve said this on here. I’m starting to feel like a broken record. But I don’t think it’s fair to say at this point that Nasri and Fabregas aren’t committed to Arsenal. Just because there are all of these ridiculous transfer rumours swirling around them doesn’t mean that it’s their fault. The people who are spreading these rumours WANT you to turn on Nasri and Fabregas.

  • Anne

    @Shard and Critic:

    Were fans at the Emirates actually booing Arsenal? Or is this just a rumour? Can anyone who was actually at the Emirates confirm whether or not this occurred?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Anne,
    There was booing, low level, half hearted stuff but some idiots thought they could carry the crowd with them, it didn’t happen. Most people came to have a good time, what with the kids and everything- i think they will save the real stuff for when fabregas steps out on the pitch for the first time next season.

  • chris

    It is NOT the team that was booed. It is Wenger and his obsessions. He has invented a new game : ‘ Keep possession and be beautiful … instead of putting the ball in their net more often than they put it in ours.’

    It is not only a lot of fans. It is too many players who have stopped believing in the Wenger way. Read their quotes, watch them want to leave. This is different from the young hopefuls who know Wenger will develop them …. so they can then xxxx off and do better elsewhere.

    This whole thing has been shaping up ugly for some time and is going to end in tears.

  • Sara

    So many people are crazy. Do you honestly believe that Wenger is training his team to not shoot but to keep the ball and to pass it backwards to start a new passing circle?

    Did you never watch a single Arsenal team and looked at Wengers face expression when they do that? I think that it tells it all and my guess is that he is rather trying to train his players to have the confidence to shoot when they have the chance. But that would make too much sense for our “fans” who believe that Wenger is a nutcase.

  • Shard

    @Anne

    There was booing for something like 5-10 seconds before it got drowned out by applause.. Anybody who boos however is a class A idiot. It doesn’t help the club in any way. And Robbie Savage was all too happy to seize on it and run with the ‘story’ “Arsenal are in trouble, and they can’t even win their OWN cup.hahahaha. I’m so funny and smart”. That’s the thing. The media will amplify it to the point that it becomes that the entire stadium booed, and what will this achieve? It won’t help the players, it won’t help the manager in preparing for games, and it won’t help the club in any negotiations for any transfers thy are in anyway, because the selling club will realise that Arsenal need signings just to keep their fans quiet. All in all it’s the most stupid thing to do. And anyone who attempts to justify it is just an a******.. I have had enough of people who call themselves fans and then do everything to bring the team down, perhaps only to prove themselves right. I saw it at the end of last season when we still were in with a chance for the title, and now at the start of a new season they do the same, AND act fucking superior because they managed to get to the stadium. If they can’t stand by their team at a time it is under attack from every corner in a way quite unprecedented, then they don’t deserve to win anything anyway. The stinky skunks.

  • andy bishop

    Poor performances..blame the refs and now ESPN. The gradual decline within the quality of the squad is patently evident and now coming home to roost even for the most supportive of gooners of which I have been for over 50 years. The more optimistic still believe Wenger will pull a magic rabbit out of the hat and solve the problems. The team is tactically naive and now easy to play against because they provide the same each week… pretty football that flatters to deceive. When Martin Keown states more englishness (toughness, roll up the sleeves attitude etc) within the squad he is right as he has been there. I would have a young Keown in the current team like a shot. The mix is not right within the team. Wenger has developed some wonderful athletic ball playing footballers over the years and all want to put the ball down and play ala Dhorou on the Boca second goal…(Squillacci is just not good enough for the premier and champions league.) It is more and more obvious this is not enough. The strategy of developing home grown talent to take advantage of the incoming financial regulations will not work with the massive investments within other clubc circumnavigating the rules. The failure to beat Birmingham in the Carling Cup should have been a wake up call
    for the board but apparently not and why we are hanging onto Fabregas for and extra few million when our captain clearly does not want to play for the team anymore beggars belief. This is clearly affected the squad despite what Wenger states.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    I agree with you about fans booing the club. But I guess the positive aspect of the story is that the booing was soon drowned out by applause. I suppose that anywhere you go you’re going to have idiots and jerks, but at least it seems like the majority of fans are supporting the club.

    I’ve long had difficulty understanding this AAA attitude that appears in blogs and from some people in comments sections. If you dislike Arsenal so much, why do you even bother to call yourself a fan? Rather than attack the club that you claim to support, why not just switch your loyalty to another team? Wouldn’t that be a better form of protest?

    @Andy Bishop:

    See above

    And by the way, there are plenty of clubs out there who are skirting financial rules, and displaying “toughness, roll up the sleeves attitude etc,” that haven’t won anything in years. What on earth makes you believe that that is some sort of patented avenue to football glory? Really, all of the evidence would tend to show the contrary.

  • rusty

    As an American, I have to say — I vastly prefer to watch spanish-language soccer broadcasts, when available. ESPN’s coverage has been pretty miserable for as long as I can remember.

  • zulu gooner

    andy bishop needs to find another club to “support” – ? spu*s

  • Paul

    I was in block 120 and the support there was quite impressive and people didn’t boo the team at all. Me and my friends went to have a meal in Highbury afterwards and this is when I met the “true” arsenal supporters. Just a bunch off drunken idiots who didn’t even know that Arsenal were playing that day and just realised it by noticing my t-shirt. Some of them asked me who Arsenal played and what the score was , after getting a reply they started to moan about Wenger and his idiotic tactics and blah blah. I wasn’t even bothered to argue cause it just doesn’t make sense anymore. It just proves how easy it is to brainwash people, it only takes one shit British newspaper campaign to do it.

  • you must be joking

    I agree with andy bishop [sic]. Arsenal should start cheating the financial rules and buy a cup. ASAP!

    And yeah, we all think ESPN was the reason we did so poorly last year, not winning any games after there was nothing to play for (not even having to worry about qualifying for Europe).

    Oh, and Martin Keown’s expertise should be amplified and spread. Being a part-time coach and scout for Arsenal is not enough! We must thaw the clone we made of him when he was 17, sign him up to the reserves and get him (the clone, that is) in some kind of game shape, then we’ll have a young Martin Keown ready to put on the team “in a shot”.

    In the meantime, Arsenal DEFINITELY need to play with more of that English spine. The English national side (tough and aggressive and oh-so-successful, especially with Martin Keown in the line-up). While we’re waiting for the master (young Martin Keown) he (the existing Martin Keown) should get the lads practising man-marking (using himself as a reference point and model — “Widely regarded as one of the best man-markers of his generation,[1][2][3]”), because man-marking has done so well in so many different leagues (and even different sports), especially the Champions League. Well, it works if the if the referees are ignoring the “persistent fouling” rule. But I guess you can’t out-and-out say “rotational fouling is a great strategy against the team I work for”. Not even on ESPN.

    Sheesh! When will the board wake up and arrange the universe the way I want it?

  • Gord

    Related? It’s about the people that talk about teams (Arsenal in particular).

    It’s wonderful that people want to support a club, and to support that effort, they set up a site to do so. If they find themselves whining (I’m in western Canada, I think you might spell it whinge) about things more than say 63.21% (I’m an engineer, 1-exp(-1)), they should really find a different team to support. They aren’t doing anybody any good.

    I commonly see articles come up, where someone is “reporting” on something a player said. And the article consists of this person’s interpretation of what the player said, followed by the player’s statement verbatim. Often the two statements are very close, and sometimes identical. It’s like talking about TTL Logic (for the people that know electronics). If you are going to quote verbatim what the player said, your lead up to the player’s quotation needs to introduce the topic, and present information which is on the topic, but is not what the player is quoted saying. Pretend you are an MC at a function. If you deliver the speech of the person you are introducing, there is no reason for the introduced person to do anything. They should walk up and sarcastically thank you for giving their talk, and walk away.

    Today, there was a note on GoonerNews that someone had information that everybody who was an Arsenal supported just HAD to see. I seen this silly link a few times, and I kept thinking, do I REALLY want to follow this link to yet another boneheaded article. Finally I follow the link. The article consists of the article title and a link to someone else’s article. There is no introduction, no telling the user what this other article is about (during Silly Season, it is probably going to be silly). We get the title twice (once on the GoonerNews headline, probably on the originating site home page as well), and a link. WHY do you think we need to see this? Do you agree with EVERYTHING written? Are there points you disagree with?

    Oh well, I’ll go back to working on my engineering document problem. Sorry for venting.

  • Anne

    @gord:

    I think that sometimes these days you just have to vent 🙂

  • andy bishop

    @zulu gooner..thanks for the advice. A supporter who cannot take constructive criticism is a blind faith supporter. What i stated was the truth albeit a little negative..but it is the truth. There has been a gradual decline of quality within the squad despite Wengers best efforts but we are tactically naive..why so many two and three goal leads are lost?. Our investment in youth designed to benefit us when the financial regulations bite will not work at the top level..fact. Money talks. Wengers edge with scouting, fitness and dietry regimes
    has gone.. wake up gooners. Stop blaming referees for our continuing misfortune. Our recent great side was based upon excellent drilling by George Graham, the icing on the cake provided by Wenger (who eveyone wanted to play for) and Danny Fizmans money and David Deins wheeling and dealing. We paid for that great side. The amounts required to get great sides has moved on and we have not. @zulugooner..thanks for the comment though.it irritated a little so that re affirms I am still and always will be a gooner..with views not just blind faith

  • Anne

    @andy bishop:

    Can you give me an example of this “tactical naivety” that Arsenal players and managers are apparently so prone to?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @andy bishop,
    I look around at the so called english teams in the EPL and fuck me, if mid table mediocrity is not the norm- englishness in itself is not a path to glory as we have seen so many times in international competitions (of course, we can all blame capello). I see that you accept no responsibilty for these pretty nonsensical opinions but typically hide behind martin keown’s skirts, he is not any more qualified to have an opinion than you or I, couple that with the fact that working for the english media he is paid to slate arsenal, but luckily for us he can frame a rather racist if not downright stupid argument to sound like it may have some virtue- more foll you for failing to see through this nice little earner.
    I am ofcourse blind and deluded, but you sir are shallow!

  • andy bishop

    @ Ugandan Goon of course you and I and Martin Keown can have an opinion on what you see week in and week out, what we support and what we pay for. Why are you contributing to this blog if you do not have an opinion?. I am not for one moment advocating mid table mediocrity for the Arsenal.. we are one of the top clubs in Europe. I and many other gooners want to build upon that status. To do so we need to recognise our failings as much as our successes. Currently it is not working at the level we would like and I like many others have had faith in Wenger because he delivers a good brand of football and develops players. The promised land via project Fabregas has not delivered apart from some entertaining football and near misses.

    I understand exactly what Martin Keown is alluding too and it is not racist or racism to say that the best ever defence in the premier league was Seaman, Dixon, Keown/Bould Adams and Winterburn all english but the best defender of the lot was Campbell also english and Ashley Cole also english so where is the stupidity and implied racism in what Keown said also how is what he said unqualified…he played in it!!. you and i did not. I just happen to agree with what he says. Oh and I might be joining the dots up a little here but I suspect a lot of the current squad agree. Jack Wilshire said we need a few more players to be really competitive.

    As you can see I am neither shallow nor stupid and contribute to this blog beacause I feel contributers have something constructive to say. Your reply had no real basis apart from an overreaction to constructive criticism and certain personal criticisms of someone you have never met or know. I have played football until 35 and supported the Arsenal since I was 8. Seen some great sides and seen some pretty average. Unless Wenger sorts the defence and his tactics out it will be very much the same…everyone knows that. @Anne one of Wengers major tactical errors is in matches when we are say 2-0 with twenty minutes to go and allow both our fullbacks to bomb forward with the three midfielders supporting the attack. The times we have all seen the attack break down and a quick ball played into central midfield and our centre halves exposed. You then see Clichy and Sagna charging back out of position. Our midfielders are way behind tha game line instead of filling the gaps. This is fundamental to proper defence. Play two holding midfielders if you want your fullbacks to continue attacking..when they do not need to. I would say have a good look at the next time we let a two goal lead go and see where the problems start. Its not with dodgy refereeing nor Arsenal bashing by pundits or idiotic transmissions by ESPN.

  • Anne

    @Andy Bishop:

    That’s a legitimate tactical criticism, but I would have to focus on specific matches to determine whether I agree with you or not.

    However, just because some things that go wrong are Arsenal’s fault doesn’t mean that other factors don’t contribute as well. Are you honestly saying that bad refereeing decisions didn’t cost Arsenal any points last season?

    Plus, the media campaign is not something that relates directly to Arsenal’s performance on the pitch. The main issue there is that it demoralizes Arsenal’s fans.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @andy bishop
    Although i must acknoledge your right to an opinion, i must stick to my earlier swipe at you for being shallow- not only was your opinion earlier based on keown summing up on ESPN after the game, you also bring in witness number two, Jack Wilshire- i am sorry but he is just old enough to vote, what he knows about the management of a multimillion pound business, i am sure i don’t want to know. we need all the things you mention earlier but living in the real world means we have to prioritise, every gooner knows that. So i have to ask which rock have you been hiding under so that your opinion is not informed by this basic fact? Also the referencing of times gone by, why? the premiership has changed massively since then, it is almost incomparable. the competitive edge we had has been cut to almost nothing- whether martin played in it or not, if hre talks about it in the context that he did, he talks balls!

  • andy bishop

    @anne..only too pleased to sit next to you at a home fixture and
    discuss the pros and cons of Wengers tactics. The work done by this site on refeees was unique, comprehensive and enlightning and yes we have had some pretty poor decisions against us but we have also had a few go for us. Until the same assessment is done on all premier league clubs then surely we cannot claim that they are out to get us. And no I did not say that poor decisions did not cost us any points last season. What cost us more in my humble opinion was mistakes at the back when the pressure was on and that was more demoralising to the youngsters who worked hard to get the lead. Ann please do not think like some that I am on this site bashing Arsenal just for the sake of it or as another suggested a closet spud. I am interested in gooner views as to where we should be going as a club and team to put us back where we all want to be. I have serious concerns unless the defence is sorted that we will suffer the same way this year..much promise, beautiful football but…@Ugandan Gooner I answered most or all of your points not based upon what Martin Keown said but what I feel and many others do..he just happened to say it..whether he meant it (I think he did ) or just for ESPN or just plain bashed Arsenal is irrelevent.Jack Wilshire despite his age knows what he wants for the team and is the nearest to a true gooner in the squad.
    I agree with you regarding Wengers competitive edge being cut andsaid as much in a previous comment. I believe this to be due inpart to the unprecedented levels of spending of other clubs and the fact that in fitness, nutrition and athleticism other clubs have caught up. Also our great side was based upon englishness in defence, Wengers eye for a player, Deins wheeling and dealing and Fismans money. Has anyone noticed we have two multi billionaires as major shareholders. Why reference to times gone by?because we were good, most of our players were better and we did things in a way that bought success. Why? it something to learn from. If you want to discuss
    the current Arsenal problems and their potential to win things and what players they may yet sign..only too pleased otherwise I will have to crawl back under the rock and stay unlightened.

  • Gord

    @Anne

    Yes, I suppose. 🙂

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Andy bishop,
    “Also our great side was based upon englishness in defence”
    Have you or keown calculated just how much such a defence would cost these days? Drafting the local builder and other assorted tradesmen on the basis of nationality is not going to tighten up anything, we would need the england back four, if you think who those individuals are, are going to be making any significant strides forward?- What mr. keown said was we needed organisation at the back, the genius. Where englishness and the rest of the blather came into it is where i am lost, did cahill’s (possibly irish) agent possibly slip him a brown envelope? or was he paying attention to the small print on his contract.
    Billionaire shareholders?- should the combined wealth of all the fans of a club be used to measure cocks- it is about returning sense to running a football club, if you disagree with this then come out and say so!

  • still i rise

    @Andy bishop, no matter what Keown said, they did their best. even as good as they were they couldnt bring European glory to Arsenal and that shows they had their own problems too. our team that got to Champions League final for the first time have this defence, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbel, Eboue and Flamini as left back. its doest matter the nationality, the most imporatnt thing is when you are good you are good, no matter where you come from.

  • andy bishop

    I thought Cole played left back in the final and Flamini came on as sub for Fabregas. You are right it does not matter where you come from as long as you are good. The englishness quote is being taken as some form of racist thing which it is not. Good old fashioned hard tackling and run till you drop attitude has its place and Keown says that attitude is often missing with the current side. The balance is not quite right. Denis Berkamp with all his great skills and vision was as hard as nails on the pitch. Overmars never shirked a tackle etc. Wenger often alluded to it and praised the defence. Tonight we lost 2-1 to Benfica having led 1-0 and playing some great stuff. Wenger changed alot for the second half..I suspect Benfica put their stronger side on in the second half and for a while we looked like being overun. What stopped that was the sheer endevour by the midfield of Ramsey, Frimpong, Lansbury and Vermaalen getting stuck in and closing down their playmakers not pretty but spirited.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @andy bishop,
    i should start by saying that i don’t think that you are racist.
    however i would like to point out that organisation, hard work and tough tackling despite characterising the english game, are not characteristics exclusive to english players, i liked keown the player but i thought that he was trying too hard to fit the jagielka / cahill angle into his summary and got carried away with himself.
    What most people seem to term pretty football is the skill to keep the ball at your feet hence control the game, the ability to pass the ball to each other and wit to dribble past opponents, it is certainly prettier than lumping it forward and then haring after it like we see in rugby, because the ball is kept on the ground most of the time there is less time spent doing the crowd pleasing dynamic things like sliding tackles and aerial contests, these things have their place but football is a team game and the most efficient way to play is to control the game and not over burden any part of the team with anyone of the tasks required to win a football match.
    Oh and the other side of the tackle shirking debate is that the last six years have been characterised by missing out on trophies due to injuries to top players. Tough tackling is a pet hate of mine, it gets my back up so bad, so i apologize for not being more moderate in our earlier exchanges.
    Also about yesterday’s match lansbury did not trouble the meter much, frimpong didn’t perform as well we have come to expect and i concede had the very English wilshire been there i would have backed the triumvirate of wilshere, frimpong and ramsey to contain benfica any day. Go team GB! (in jest, of course)

  • andy bishop

    @ugandan gooner no problem my friend..we both agree it is worrying times for the Arsenal and we all have our views on solutions. My genuine concern is that players like Wilshire, Ramsey, Gibbs etc who have great potential will become disillusioned with lack of success. I knew what MK was alluding too and for me I dont care what nationality a player is provided he can display those qualities when necessary. Fine line between tough tackling and cheating/dangerous tackling and you are right Lansbury needs games at the top level and Frimpong was off the pace last night but he got “stuck in” to win the ball as did the others so I was pleased we have that option. Even Barcelona are tough when they have to be , they are probably the best defensive side aswell as attacking. Puyol is much the same as was Adams, Keown etc. Of course I admire our football as per our goal against Benfica and when we had our best eleven we were able to cope by quick passing but….