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What would happen if Mr Wenger were to leave Arsenal?

What would happen if Mr Wenger were to leave Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

There is a general assumption from many people who class themselves as Arsenal supporters that things would immediately improve if the manager were to go – and as we all know, this sometimes happens with clubs who get rid of the boss.  A club that can’t win a game suddenly wins everything in sight as the new manager, or caretaker seems to work a miracle.  It often doesn’t last, but occasionally it can be enough to solve the current crisis.

But in the Premier League these days things are more complex.  Most people who count themselves as Arsenal fans and who want Mr Wenger to leave also put among their demands the spending of lots of money on new players.

So that gives us two issues if Mr Wenger went.  First could we bring in the “right” manager, and second could we bring in the “right” players (with “right” in each case meaning the manager and players who would win Arsenal some trophies within the next couple of seasons).

After all it would be a total disaster if we got rid of Mr Wenger and then brought in a manager who took us to a much lower position than we achieve with Mr Wenger.

These are difficult points, because no one quite knows who is available as a manager, and if that person would actually come.  And there is a question mark hanging over the transfer system and whether we would be able to get the “right” players in under any manager.  There is always a simplistic assumption that of course we could – but I am not sure this is so.

Top managers of course can pick and choose where they go, and they look at the club, the salary, the expectations, the money being made available, the ground, the fans, whether they would be able to bring in the players needed and whether they would be able to pay the players enough to attract them.   And they look at the way the media handles the club, the sort of life they could lead, where they could live, and so on.

It is a complex mix, and tucked away within this is a concern that the top managers may not want to come to Arsenal.

Top players can of course pick and choose where they go, and they took look at the club, salary, expectations, ground, fans, other players, the media treatment of the club, lifestyle and so on.

I will admit from the start that we can’t really judge these hypothetical situations easily, but I do think that the assumption made by some writers that a new manager would simply buy in the best players, and make everything work, at not necessarily right.

I have also heard it said that the quality of the football is so bad now that anyone would be better than Mr Wenger.  Such a statement is often combined with a view that this is the worst football ever seen (usually combined with the writer saying “I’ve been a supporter since…”)   Obviously everyone has their own view but for me the quality of football is still 1000% better than during the Rioch year, and the excitement is higher than we saw during some of the George Graham era.  Certainly everything is much better  than during the latter part of the Mee era, and if compared with the Darkness – that period with Swindin and then Wright in charge … well there is no comparison.

But what makes me think that a new man at the helm might not be able to pull it off – or indeed might not even want to be at Arsenal, and might turn down the offer?

The transfer system is one obvious point.  Arsenal have money, but Chelsea, Man City and PSG have much, much more, as does Monaco and Anzhi Makhachkala.  I have written at length before about how the transfer system now works with Arsenal having to keep very quiet about any player they want and their need to put out false stories about the players going elsewhere etc, while agents and other clubs also feed out false stories about who is bidding.  Meanwhile if Arsenal ever do enquire of a player the selling club is likely to contact Chelsea, Man City,  PSG, Monaco and Anzhi Makhachkala and say, “Arsenal are interested, are you?” and then put the price up.  That is why you rarely hear much about an Arsenal transfer until the issue is signed and sealed.  If you did, then other clubs would be in trying the spoil the deal, by suggesting they too were in for the player.

I won’t repeat a long article written on how this works, but in essence, Arsenal are clearly blocked from buying some of the better known players they want.  True the pendulum is swinging back Arsenal’s way a little, with the limited success achieved by some players of late once they have been prized away from Arsenal, but even so, the transfer market is difficult.

Of course some scenarios suggest that Arsenal’s management and board will change at the same time – and so Arsenal will come under the domain of Mr Usmanov once the lock down agreement over share sales ends.  Mr Usmanov only has to buy a handful more shares and then he has, by law, to make a very high offer to buy the rest of the company.

But Mr Usmanov comes with a reputation – of which I have no inside knowledge or personal insight – and it is possible that not every manager in the world would want to work with Mr Usmanov, perhaps in the same way that if Mr Cameron’s office asked me to write speeches for them I would refuse, no matter what money was on offer.

And we have the odd situation in which Chelsea, able to buy everyone, is still fractionally below Arsenal and Tottenham in the league.  Which suggests that maybe all the money, and the choice of all the managers in the world, doesn’t always bring success.

Then there is the ref bias situation.  Our analyses week after week suggest that there is something amiss with English refereeing, and that the authorities controlling the league and the refs are not taking the obvious steps to put these problems to right (increasing the number of refs, ending the geographical bias of refs, allowing refs to comment on matches as is done elsewhere in Europe, answering reasonable questions about how refereeing is run…)   Not every club (as our reporters show) has the same negative impact from refs, and there are undoubtedly some managers who would think, “I am starting off at minus 15 points each season because of the refs, if I am with Arsenal,” and so turn the job down.

And then there are the fans.  If you have been to a big match in Germany, or watch the fans in some parts of Europe where the dedication and belief in the club is overwhelming, you will know that Arsenal’s fans are just not in that league.  Away from home we do quite well, but I have even been at away games in the last few seasons where our own fans have shouted abuse at our player.  (Twice I have had to move very quickly to get out of the way of a fight resulting from such activity.)

Many such negative fans have joined forces with the press, and express themselves on blogs, in no uncertain terms about Arsenal being a sinking ship – and by and large top managers don’t take on sinking ships.   Indeed I think most top managers know a divided club when they see one, and if they compare Arsenal with many other clubs again I suspect they will just think – no, it is not worth it.  If the fans are getting so angry at the current situation in a League with two billionaire clubs and Manchester United (with their very high world wide marketing income) and with clubs in other leagues joining the multi-billionaire ownership league, then what’s in it for me?

So I would argue that what Arsenal now lacks, thanks to the activities of the AAA is the “unified passion” that other clubs have.

Of course it can be argued that this is not the fans fault, and that there is no relationship between Arsenal and its fans – but even if that is true, it is hardly likely to change under either a new manager or a new owner, so the problem, and the endless endless carping criticism of the club, will continue.    Even when the stories put out by the AAA about season ticket sales collapsing (as we have heard each year for the last 3 years) and the like, are shown to be untrue, the criticism doesn’t stop, and the stories come round again.

I am not saying that if we had the support that some German, Italian and other teams enjoy all would be all right, but I do think that it is another pressure on any possible successor to Mr Wenger as it is to any successor to Mr Kronke, if he were ever to feel like he’s had enough of all the bickering.

But maybe if it is anything, it will be the Hazard situation that persuades a manager not to come.  You may have seen the story before on this site – and on other sites that picked up our piece.

Hazard gave an interview in French in which he said wonderful things about Mr Wenger, and about Arsenal, and talked in a positive way about a possible transfer.  The press and the blogs that follow them all ran the story that Hazard said he wanted to go to Tottenham.   Even when we produced a full translation of the original, although the stories stopped, virtually no sites came out with an apology or even an admission of an error.  Worse, some came out with, “Now Hazard says he does like Arsenal!” as if the guy had suddenly changed his mind and was clearly not to be trusted – whereas it was the blogs and their feeder newspapers that should not be trusted.

It is a world in which there is such a huge level of activity based on re-writing the news about Arsenal into a negative viewpoint, that I suspect some managers will say, “No, I’d sooner go to Real Madrid” (or a similar club).   Arsenal has just become too much hassle.

————————————————————–

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

The day when Fulham tried to take over Arsenal – the full story in “Making the Arsenal”

We’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

———————————————————-

Referees:

Why we really do have to blame the refs

Referees mistakes all even out in the end don’t they?   Well actually, no they don’t

Our latest Untold Ref Review is… Manchester City 3 Fulham 0

———————————————————-

Football finance: the AST’s report on Arsenal’s finances analysed:

Part one: The Summer that was: transfer fees, wages and the “best” approach to the market.

———————————————————-

The Player Files…

The Ox will make it, even though a cow might break its leg

What Hazard really said: an exclusive Untold Arsenal translation of his interview in France about Tottenham, Arsenal, and Real Madrid

————————————-

From the Arsenal History Society web site

Iconic Moments 10: When Arsenal finally lost patience with a make-believe media

More extraordinary revelations about Arsenal’s past and the rivalry with Tottenham

62 comments to What would happen if Mr Wenger were to leave Arsenal?

  • RedGooner

    Tony, I think you said it best when you said a Top manager can go to a club of his choice and I think AW go could go to basicaly near enough any club he wants as most Clubs would consider him quite the capture and 15yrs of CL football to look forward to would make anyone happy.

    That doesnt change the fact though that something at Arsenal is NOT currently working and it needs to be fixed and soon. Anyday you sell two of your best players within 2 weeks of the season starting and panic buy on the last day 5 players of an arguably lesser quality is madness.

    Lets hope AW does stay and lets hope things improve.

  • Kentetsu

    Kroenke has indicated when he became the majority share holder that he supports the current business model of self-sustainability. That means that Wenger’s successor – hopefully still many years in waiting – will have to deal with the same situation as Wenger: bring up players from the youth system and occassionally bring in players when required, at the right price. Any new manager will have to deal with this and the constant complaining from the AAA as a result.

    Only if Kroenke sells his shares to Usmanov we might see a change in the business model, but I do not expect this to happen.

  • Arsenal1Again

    I’m sorry, but it’s plain to me that Tony has not written this piece.

  • Andrei

    “But Mr Usmanov comes with a reputation – of which I have no inside knowledge or personal insight…”

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by Usmanov’s reputation? Otherwise if you don’t have any specific knowledge what is behind it why bring it up in the first place? This kind of innuendo sounds a lot like xenophobic bias Arsene Wenger is experiencing with the English media.

  • Arsenal 1 Again – yes I did write it this lunchtime. I was reading through the many comments we have had on our site of late simply saying “Wenger must go now”. As you know I don’t agree with that, but was trying to pull together some of the arguments that say, “Just getting rid of Mr Wenger won’t necessarily give us the League Championship we would all like to see. Other managers would be working in the same environment.”

    Andrei – there is a lot written about Mr Usmanov all over the internet – you only have to search for a moment to find some very serious allegations made. I have no idea if these allegations are true or not, and on that basis I would certainly never wish to repeat them. My point is that some people would say, even when there is proof and evidence, “I don’t care about the past, I will do the job”. There are others who say, “I know nothing is proven, and he may be utterly innocent, but I can’t take the risk of being seen working for a man of whom such terrible things have been said.”

  • @Andrei – there is stuff like this out there on Usmanov with regards to his reputation:

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/category/usmanov/

  • DC

    Tony,
    This a nice and pragmatic piece. The dark forces at work to destabilise our club are now legion and it does seem that Arsene is fighting a huge battle alone without the concerted commitment and loyalty from ALL of us fans.
    As you’ve implied, change the manager and then all of a sudden the SAME players start playing better and win matches – very strange how that tends to happen?! Consequently, for me, the players have to take a fair portion of the blame and responsibility.
    If the same apathy and lack of belief is evident again in the NL derby (as has been seen on occasion this season) then I think we can start to question certain players’ true motivations, and not Arsene’s!

  • indy_gooner

    Strong rumors of Arsenal agreeing loan deal for Arshavin with Zenit.
    If true, then whoever made this decision, is REALLY STUPID.

  • Doublegooner

    Bob, Mahdain

    I suggested last week that there was a player who had recently said that some players had questioned Wenger. You both had a go at me for not being able to name that player. Along the lines of calling me names & a troublemaker !

    Only DC understood.

    This has been published today !!

    Petit. “I even fear that some have lost their trust in Arsene”

  • DC

    @Indy gooner,
    I can’t see Arshavin leaving for Russia before the summer. Whatever you’ve heard or read is the usual media bullshit that’s trying to undermine Arsenal at this crucial time in the season!

  • DC

    @Doublegooner,
    Can you give the link for this piece and quote from Petit?

  • DC

    @Doublegooner,
    As with Indy gooner and from what we’ve heard over the past 2weeks about Hazard and the tiny totts, don’t believe all that you read or hear. Stay objective!

  • Mahdain

    @andrei you should just search the internet and you`ll see just how black and tedious his history is..i did write an extensive article about him but due to the seriousness of the allegations and mr usmanov`s history of closing down sites which reveal about him tony couldnt publish it

  • Damien Luu

    This is war! The whole corrupted and stupid football world against Arsenal. And instead of stay unified with the club and the team and fight back, some of us, the so called Gooners, just want to make things worse, saying that The Armageddon is very near or something like that, abuse the players and the manager and the board, and make all of us becoming clowns in other clubs’ fans’ eyes. I am really sorry that those twats have been born!

    Sometimes too many (of fans) is not necessarily good.

  • Mahdain

    i didnt see what dogface posted at first..just follow the link and see just how serious the allegations made at him are… i dont know about others but i certainly dont want him as our owner

  • Notoverthehill

    The lies about Mr A B Usmanov have ALL stemmed from one person, as quoted by Dogface. In brief the American and British Embassies in Tashkent have confused 2 Alisher Usmanovs. One is a reputed terrorist and has been deported from Russia back to Uzbekistan. Is Mr A B Usmanov a good co-owner of Red & White Holdings, I would say Yes. Is he a good co-owner for Arsenal Holdings is another question. Mr Craig Murray for some personal reason is a fibber

    A very well set out article Mr Attwood. Mr Wenger, is one of a kind. For some unknown reason, the covenants restricting what Arsenal Holdings can do in the transfer market are overlooked. For those who wish to understand, the shortened version is Arsenal Securities Plc., Investor Presentation – July 2006 and Page 22, refers.

    Mr Attwood, Phil Gregory should read the Capita Prospectus Page 102, re WC for Working Capital.

  • ak47

    talk about summing us up. nice read thanx.
    thanx dogface-cant say id be totally happy with an usmanov takeover but ive alway been cynical about billionaires. after all why would you have so much if you was a nice person.

  • If Wenger was to go to another club I honestly don’t think the impact on Arsenal would be too bad. And before you think I’m one of those Gunners fans who slags Wenger off all the time, I’m not. Wenger could get a job almost anywhere. What Arsenal need is a manger who can take them forward, and it seems like Wenger has been unable to do this with the team of recent years. You can blame investment, but I think the main problem this season was holding on until the last minute to sell Fabregas and Nasri. If he hadn’t tried so desperately to keep them then he would have had more time to attract new players to the Premier League and to Arsenal who could have made a difference. Wenger usually doesn’t panic buy, but with the signings he’s made recently, you have to admit, he panicked.

  • I want to make it absolutely clear that the Craig Murray web site has been around for a very long time, and no one connected with Untold has any way of knowing whether any of the allegations there are true or not. It is a factual statement that these allegations are there – but I think Mahdain that we have to hold judgement. We can’t say, “I don’t want him as our owner” when all we have are stories repeated across the internet.

    We all know that on the first day at work Mr Wenger was faced with a hostile crowd of journalists shouting and baying at him, saying, “what have you got to say about the rumours Mr Wenger?” and Mr Wenger replied “what rumours?”

    In a very clever twist he refrained from saying anything, and thus stopped the journalists from printing anything – but the rumours were there.

    We all know they are appalling stories made up by fans of other clubs who still sing vile chants about Mr Wenger – but we know they are vile and disgraceful because we know the man.

    Mr Usmanov is a more distant character and we can’t know what’s what, but I don’t believe there are any charges hanging over him in the UK, and thus on the basis of our law he is not guilty of anything. To suggest otherwise takes us to the level of the supporters of Manchester U who have endlessly repeated their vile accusations against Mr Wenger.

  • @Notoverthehill – as far as I’m aware Craig Murray has invited Alisher Usmanov to sue him over what he has published if he disagrees with any of it… can you perhaps link us to the source of the information which documents the two Alisher Usmanovs and differentiates between them?

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘There is a general assumption from many people who class themselves as Arsenal supporters that things would immediately improve if the manager were to go – and as we all know, this sometimes happens with clubs who get rid of the boss.’

    ‘Most people who count themselves as Arsenal fans and who want Mr Wenger to leave also put among their demands the spending of lots of money on new players.’

    ‘Such a statement is often combined with a view that this is the worst football ever seen (usually combined with the writer saying “I’ve been a supporter since…”) ‘

    ‘Many such negative fans have joined forces with the press, and express themselves on blogs, in no uncertain terms about Arsenal being a sinking ship’

    ‘So I would argue that what Arsenal now lacks, thanks to the activities of the AAA is the “unified passion” that other clubs have.’

    You have determined, in your opinion, who is to blame.

    You have created a term for it: AAA.

    And each day, now you pepper your articles with at least 3 quotes denigrating them. You have an issue, is the conclusion of that……

    I will change the reaility by putting an alternative explanation.

    1. The stadium move was sold as a way to compete with Man Utd.
    2. Prices have gone up. A lot.
    3. Wages have gone up. A lot.
    4. Trophies have gone down. Dried up, in fact.
    5. And those who expression frustration are told that nothing will change, can change, should be expected to change.

    What you are saying is that the manager getting paid more, the players getting paid more, the club making claims which have not turned out to be true, is all just a minor blip.

    It is not.

    It is a major, major fault line.

    Arsenal FC expect their Club members to pay up in March each season, before the outcome of the season and hence the expectations for the next are known. This is done to massage the annual accounts as all the season ticket money sits in the ‘cash in the bank’ bit which paints a false picture as compared, say to a set of accounts published in December. It is not ethical for the club to sell something they cannot describe, particularly when you go on in your sneering way about diddly cups et al. The difference, potentially, is between the Champions League and the European Piss in a Pot Cup as you would call it. But £3000 plus must be shelled out not knowing which pot Arsenal are going to piss in next season.

    Over the past 5 years I have spoken to several people who have got increasingly frustrated.

    They didn’t flounce out after a year or so. They stuck with it. They rode with the punches. But they are starting to say: enough’s enough. They haven’t demanded trophies as of right, all they have demanded is a team which gives as much as the fans pay in. A helluva lot, in other words.

    Now let’s be clear; quite a bit of the empty seating in Club Deck is agencies not able to sell their allocations. We know they must have allocations as away fans get to buy tickets in Club Deck and I even spoke to a Glaswegian down in London for a weekend with the wife who sent her off shopping whilst he enjoyed a game at the Emirates, not to mention regular mainland Europeans clearly on a short break to London with a game thrown in as well. That’s not a problem as they are mostly friendly folks. But it is annoying in the extreme being labelled as false fans when it is CLUB POLICY to sell tickets to agencies, which may or may not be sold. I expect arch disciples like this site to be honest about that……..yes, there are rich fans who only come occasionally too. But there are more tickets with agencies………and dedicated fans who come every week paying a lot of money to do so.

    The other thing you can address is why, if you say Arsenal can’t compete with City, Utd, Chelsea et al, that they must continue to charge prices which imply that they can. Would you pay more for a BMW than a Roller? More fool you if you would. That’s Arsenal’s marketing strategy right now……you’re the PR man justifying it. I trust you don’t want to peddle the line ‘you don’t need to pay more than the stalls if you don’t want to’: £40m pissed away if everyone agrees with you……

    Let me get this straight: your argument currently for Wenger is this:

    1. The fans are a pile of shit so no other manager would tolerate them. If so, why doesn’t Wenger, clearly in demand, bugger off somewhere and work for fans who DO appreciate him? I think he is a trainer rather than a tactician, a man whose squads have been unbalanced for the past six years, but who still has an unrivalled eye for a young player. Does that make me a pile of shit?? Or someone who sees him as he is, rather than an adoring disciple who sees him as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ……
    2. The players are no good useless lazy buggers. If so, why doesn’t he get ruthless and give them away? Get the liabilities off the books. The transfers are already paid, so who cares about P+L? Cash flow will only benefit….. If someone’s on £40k a week, sent on loan so never plays, they are a liability, pure and simple. No upside. Give them away. That saves the value of their outstanding money. They won’t go? Turn the press onto them. Use the hairdryer to get them to leave. Whatever it takes. He did it to Gilberto Silva and Vieira after all…….Gilberto certainly didn’t want to leave…….and he won the World Cup and was an Invincible……..
    3. The media hate Arsenal so whoever manages them will fail. Well why do we bother supporting them then? There’s no point is there? The media have it in for Arsenal. Has it not got into your thick heads that quite a lot of ex Arsenal players are now in the media? Wouldn’t it be better for you to compile an exhaustive list of sports journalists and WHO THEY SUPPORT? Tell all Gooners so they don’t take what they write seriously. If it’s a Spud, what do you expect, eh? Course they’ll stick the knife in. What a surprise!! Of course, the media never attack Bayern Munich, do they? No need for Uli Hoeness to say: ‘look, we’re not a school for girls, you know!’? It happens to other clubs too…..look at AVB at Chelsea right now……
    4. No decent players will come to Arsenal. I see. And why is that? Unbalanced squad? Not enough money? Why will they go to Tottenham then? Less money there……

    Foreign fans:
    1. White hankies at Barcelona? Such a symbol of support for managers down the years, eh?
    2. German fans leaving in droves when England were winning 5-1 in 2001? Really supported their team when they were down, didn’t they?

    Reality of fans is this: they all bitch. Newcastle fans, Spurs fans, LFC fans, Man Utd fans, Chelsea fans, Villa fans. They’re all the same. They bitch. Particularly when they are not going well….management of client expectations is what is required: and in this case, the clients are the FANS…….

    You have a position that you have a right to hold.

    My opinion is that it is self-serving because you work for Arsenal FC.

    But your conclusion is: Wenger puts up with such interminable rubbish that he must have a serious problem to do with self-esteem. He is so dedicated to seeing his daughter each evening and her education will be completed in London, so he wouldn’t go anywhere else to work no matter how bad it gets. (Let’s be clear he could work anywhere as far as Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester if he wanted to and still see his daughter at night. And he could be the England manager if you didn’t think that was such a despicable job unworthy of any but the bullshitting has-beens, bung-takers and gambling match-fixers).

    The picture you paint is that there is no mercenary on earth who would consider £3m+ a year to manage Arsenal because it’s such a rat-infested, divided pile of shite with no-good, self-serving spoilt little mummy’s boys as players.

    Would you put that up on the front page of the Sunday Times Executive Appointments section next time Arsenal need a manager?

    ‘£3m+ a year to guarantee self-hatred, depression and suicide: apply London N5 before you jump off the bridge’……..

    You know something. Some little birdie tells me that Capello and Wenger have some feud with unfinished business. Capello might just take it on to stick two fingers up Wenger’s arse.

    Course, a bit of his discipline would be the last thing that bunch need, eh??

    Bring in a woman who’ll let them boo hoo hoo their eyes out when they lose 4-3 to Blackburn.

    I HOPE YOU ALL REALISE THAT I AM WRITING IN YOUR STYLE, PUTTING THE COUNTER ARGUMENT.

    IT MIGHT HELP YOU TO SEE HOW YOU ARE VIEWED BY OTHERS.

    THIS WAS A RHETORICAL POST AND DOES NOT REPRESENT MY TRUE VIEWS, THOSE OF ARSENAL FC OR ANY SUPPORTERS GROUP OF ARSENAL.

    GET OVER YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SAY, IF NOT THIS WAY, THEN HOW? IF M. WENGER NEEDS HELP, WHAT SORT AND FROM WHOM? IF THE PLAYERS NEED DIFFERENT SORTS OF COACHING, WHAT KIND AND FROM WHOM?

    IT’S NOT A PRISON, SUPPORTING ARSENAL YOU KNOW………………..

  • JohnW

    And besides Andrei, Usmanov is a self- claimed ManU fan, so isn’t that bad enough reputation? Thank you Tony for the article, people some times forget that in the 7 years in which we have not won a trophy, we have come really closer to Gold. We fail and next season we try again to right the wrong. I have a feeling that had we kept one of Cesc or Samir, our league position would have been better now, and I don’t think Arsene thought we would lose both. May be we as fans are not helping the situation at all.

  • @JohnW as a Gazprom man he should support Zenit! 🙂

  • Sharky

    Hi Tony

    Having just read your article, I must say compared to other articles you have written, this one goes very much off tangent towards the end rather than sticking to actual the gist of the article.

    Criticisms aside, I’ve got to say that your opinions whether things would get worse if Wenger left are just a valid as someone saying that a new Manager could turn things around. We just don’t know until it happens, anything else is pure conjecture. In for our current situation, this team doesn’t give me any confidence that they will maintain a top four finish.

    I want and hope that we can finish top four but our form this season has been so patchy that we have had mini crisis after mini crisis and that can only be detrimental to team moral and confidence.

    I think the difference to the Wenger then and the Wenger now is that he had a team of winners back then and if they had a little set back he only needed a few words to put them back on track. The trouble now is that he has no winners or leaders in the team and he is having trouble motivating\inspiring them and getting them to believe (his favourite word I think) that they CAN be winners. The sad thing is that the longer it goes on the more difficult it becomes to convince young players that they can turn it around.

    Added to this is the fact that the younger players see talismen team mates leaving or being allowed to leave. What message does that give to those players? Fabregas wanted to leave; to win trophies? or was he just missing home? If your winning trophies and you like playing for that team why would you leave, I know I wouldn’t.

    This team needs freshening up to shake some players out of their comfort zone. When it’s a the Manager who decides who gets moved out rather than the players holding the club to ransom (see Ferguson), it shows those that are left that they better shape up or they will be next for the chop. Either way, Wenger needs to grow some and its long overdue.

    I know most of you here on Untold take criticism of our Lord Wenger personally but no one is beyond criticism and this year in particular, he has fully deserved what has been said of him and this team.

  • Rhys, I don’t think I have ever written in block capitals.

  • And won’t I don’t get Rhys is, if, as seems to be the case, you disagree with me so much, why do you read Untold and comment so regularly. I am not suggesting you are not welcome to read and comment – indeed I always read your comments with much interest, but still, it seems a real dedication to stay here as you do.

    I must say I don’t have your determination and, I guess, energy. I mean, I couldn’t read the Daily Mail or that anti-Wenger blog we all know, but I really don’t want to mention for even a day a week, let alone regularly.

    Thanks for being part of Untold, and for putting your views forward – I am just amazed at your tenacity.

  • Mandy dodd

    Crap appears about us every day in the press

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/football/article-24038410-no-st-totteringhams-day-this-year-as-harry-redknapps-men-rule-roost.do

    This lot totally misinterpreting what hazard said, unfortunately that papers sports dept is predominantly made up of spuds, and does it show….

    You are correct, our club may be too much trouble for some

  • Mahdain

    @tony i understand what you mean…lets forget about all other allegations but the things said about his jail time should be able to put anyone who wants him at helm off..

  • Andrei

    @DogFace and @JohnW Reference to Usmanov’s reputation was made in the context of future managers not wanting to work with Usmanov. Nobody provided any details why it is the case. Now, if you talk about Mr. Abramovich’s reputation he does have history of going through too many managers in too short period of time. In this sense, I would understand if somebody suggested that Abramovich’ reputation would make many managers think twice before joining Chelsea.

    So any rational reasons why Usmanov is not a good fit as an Arsenal owner beyond him being a shady individual and generally not “proper” for Arsenal?

  • DC

    @indygooner,
    It looks like you might well be right wrt Arshavin & Zenit. I personally think it’s not a bad move to get rid of a player whose confidence and belief in himself is essentially evaporated! It’s also preempting his transfer this summer. I don’t see any difference between Arshavin and Benayoun in terms of ability so he can just step up as required.

  • Mahdain

    i really cant believe the hypocrisy of some people..when arshavin was here they booed him and said “he is shit and needs to be sold”. now there are reports on a loan move and they are saying “wenger is losing it as he letting a world class player leave mid season”
    Looking for anything to hit Arsene with it seems

  • Andrei

    @DogFace “as a Gazprom man he should support Zenit!” If I used similar rhetoric I could ask:

    “What team should Kroenke support as a former real estate developer and a man who married Wallmart billions?”

  • John W, and our CEO just happens to be a Man City fan,and surprise,surprise since he has been at the club we have sold FOUR of our best players to guess who,Man City.Is this a conflict of interest?

  • DC

    @Mahdain,
    I don’t think that many will be disappointed or hypocritical if Arshavin leaves as you suggest. I certainly am not bothered either way, unlike Indygooner who is probably worried about the squad cover.
    I for one wish Andrei well for the future! His four at Anfield will stay with me forever! Genius!

  • Mahdain

    @dc you should see some people on twitter…many were the ones calling for his head

  • critic

    Abandon hope for the derby, mike dean is the refs. Somebody needs to kidnap him or throw kitchen sink at him. C’mon you gunners, wham that twat.

  • Shard

    lol @ critic..Can someone please do both those things.

  • Mahdain

    arshavin`s loan deal now official…goodluck andrei http://arshavin.eu/news.php?id=750

  • @Andrei – you mistake me for someone who likes Stan Kroneke in any way shape or form but to be honest I thought that there was only minority interest in football in America – but maybe that’s changing now… also wasn’t Usmanov on the board for Zenit at one point – I seem to recall that he was involved in some way in the Arshavin transfer?

    Anyhoo – I wish nothing more than they both leave Arsenal well alone.

  • Shard

    Arsene Wenger is a great manager. There are no two ways about it, and the people calling him all sorts of names would be better of just acknowledging that. The argument should then be if Arsene Wenger’s dismissal would be good for Arsenal. I say it won’t because I don’t think that addresses the root cause of our problems (such as they are). While I am cynical about most of football (maybe even life), I do start from a default position of trusting my football club and its greatest manager (isn’t that sort of the point) I am concerned about Kroenke’s motives in taking over Arsenal just as much as I am about Usmanov’s. Usmanov doesn’t come with just a reputation, he comes with promises of being a saviour with his bagfuls of riches. Now where have we heard that before? That makes me distrust him straight from the off. Kroenke meanwhile was brought on board, by the people who have been with the club for generations and overseen it’s growth to being one of the biggest clubs in the world. That says to me that there must be a reason for that. They could have sold out at a higher price to Usmanov, but they didn’t. Why not? And please, salaries doesn’t explain it. Not one of them would have earned salaries equivalent to the £75m Dein made from his sale.

    Coming to the question of the stadium move and how it was ‘sold’ to the fans. Does anyone dispute that the stadium move is a good idea? Things that have changed since planning for the stadium move began. Abramovich bought a bankrupt Chelsea and changed the football market. ManU were bought by Glazers. The rest of the teams are pushing themselves closer to the brink (and sometimes over it) to keep in touch with the inflating wages. Of course now ManCity came on the scene and do all they can to not just buy talent but do so in a way that influences the results of other clubs (Adebayor on loan at Spurs, targetting Rooney, Nasri)

    The point is that I say Arsenal’s wage structure should change. I’ve been saying it for a while. But I can understand why it is there and I don’t count it as a mistake. The whole footballing world’s expenses were shooting up (doping!) just at the time that we had our finances tied up in paying for the stadium. To counter this, Arsenal chose to get young players in and pay them more than they could get elsewhere. The pay scales may be skewed with Denilson, Diaby etc earning more than they should (and I would like this to change), but these players are also the ones that got us into the Champions League each year. Something which is not easy, as Liverpool and even the mighty Spurs have already shown. The salaries may appear crazy now, but it was one way to keep a team together. A team that very nearly won the title in 2008.

    Which of course takes the argument to referees. I don’t care whether you think Arsenal are singled out or not. The fact is the refereeing in the EPL is useless. And more often than not, Arsenal have suffered atrocious decisions the likes of which no one can explain apart from saying every team suffers them. How is this shit acceptable? The team should play through it is nonsense of the highest order. No team can. Not every time. We played through a useless call by Lee Mason to give Everton a goal last season and won. The next week we had Phil Dowd outdo himself to ‘earn’ Newcastle a draw, and give the EPL a remarkable game which proves just how exciting a product the EPL is. So if people have a problem with the ‘product’ that Arsenal provide them for their money, they should also put in as much effort to demand more for their buck from the product the league provides, and demand more for their buck from the product the media provides (You do pay the BBC even if you don’t buy the papers if you are English) because Arsenal’s product isn’t separate from these things.

  • @Andrei – to answer you other point. I didn’t write the article so you had better ask Tony – I assumed that the ‘history’ statement was to do with his past (as he has no history of owning a football club as far as I know) so that was the link I gave.

    Can I ask (as I’m interested) why you take any critisism of Alisher Usmanov so personally and/or why you feel, if Arsenal should have one major shareholder, Alisher Usmanov is the man for the job?

  • critic

    WOW!!!! That’s 3 world class players out in one season….without replacements. The 3rd one just before an important derby.

    ASTONISHING decisions by wenger!!

  • Shard

    I’m guessing none of those 3 wanted to play for Arsenal. And sorry, but Nasri isn’t world class, and Andrei hasn’t been playing like someone who is world class. Not recently at least. I’m still not sure he’s gone btw.. the official site doesn’t say anything yet.. so it’s not..umm… official.

  • critic

    @shard

    More astonishing is the fact that somebody has found the logic to defend arsenal on this.

    World of arsenal gets weirder day by day. What a way to celebrate 125th anniversary. I don’t find anything more apt than walters word

    WE CELEBRATE OUR WAY, THE ARSENAL WAY.

  • Shard

    @critic

    Defend? Who said I was defending anything? Nasri isn’t world class and Arshavin isn’t playing like he is, if he ever was. That’s all. That doesn’t mean I’m happy with either of them going. If you really want to attack Arsenal over it, go ahead. But Nasri touted himself around, and Cesc wanted to go to Barca more than anything, which to me says they are traitors. That doesn’t defend Arsenal n any way.

  • Shard

    BTW, letting Arshavin go at this point (if it is true) is just crazy. The only way I can understand it, except for saying Arsene and everyone at Arsenal is just insane, is that Arshavin wanted to go, or that his presence would be a detriment to the team.

  • Shard

    well..it is official now

  • Ken

    What would happen if Mr. Wenger left Arsenal. Simply put Arsenal would have a different manager and possibly a few different players. No guarantees but there is a good chance that another manager would be a better tactician and might have more passion towards winning not just qualifying for a Champions League qualifier. Life goes on. If something is not done to try to stop the decline it will only get worse. Perhaps a new ambitious manager just might be a step in the right direction.

  • Pat

    On the Arsenal web site it says Andrei Arshavin went to Zenit St Petersburg to get first team time in before Euro 2012. He has gone on loan. The web site says Arsenal wish him luck.

    We know Andrei cares about playing for his national team and he was not playing full matches at Arsenal recently so I see no reason to doubt that this is true.

    The web site reminds us of his four goals at Liverpool and his winning goal against Barcelona.

  • Mahdain

    @doublegooner just go away please

  • Shard

    @doublegooner

    That isn’t even much of a wind-up.. Try again, why don’t you?

  • Sammy The Snake

    Tony,

    Your articles are generally more balanced and fair. This one sounds like you’re blaming everyone & everything except Wenger. He is one of the best things that happened to Arsenal, but no one should be indispensable. And it’s not right to fart on everyone just to protect a man, you usually don’t sound so biased.

    What is for sure is that things aren’t working well, and everyone must share the blame. This weekend is the anniversary of the league cup final fiasco, where we lost to B’ham. It honestly sometimes feels like everyone at Arsenal are rewarded more when the team loses!!!

    All fans have expectations, they follow a team to forget their personal miseries and share in the team’s triumphs. Fans are important stakeholders in a club, no one should discount them.

    I love your work, and as a fan, I expect better from Untold.

  • DC

    @Mahdain,
    Blimey, you were tight – so many hypocrites out today! 🙂
    Good luck Andrei!

    @critic,
    Please define “world-class” for me as I never understand what that actually means?!

    @Doublegooner,
    I see you’re being very mischievous again?!
    Do you happen to know if ALL of the players will “really try their hardest” against the Spuds this weekend?
    Will our mutual friend the “glove-wearer”? I’ll be keeping a very close eye on him, that’s for sure!

  • DC

    @Mahdain,
    Sorry, meant to say “you were right”.

  • Arsenal1Again

    @ Tony … OK, it just seemed like the same thing at the start about the “so called Arsenal fans” (paraphrasing here) was overly emphasised. It’s uncharacteristic of you.

  • clarence wyllie

    wenger leaving will be a nice revolution. Fifteen years is five too many. When arsenal not playing well there seems to be nothing new in terms of counterattacking the enemy from the bench, so wenger should go. Instead of developing arsenal he is talking profit for the organization

  • Doublegooner

    Mahdain:

    Thats not very friendly.

    I’ll have to report you to Tony & ask to have you blocked.

  • bjtgooner

    @Doublegooner

    Before you report anyone you need to explain some earlier comments – this is the third time I have asked you to do so. If you cannot explain – go back to the AAA sewer.

  • Ian Trevett

    Times like this always remind me of the Curbishley Factotor.
    Curbishley kept Charlton in mid table comfort but Charlton fans got bored and wanted more.
    He left and they got relegated – twice.
    With hardly any resources due to the commitment of the Stadium Wenger kept us near the top, and has secured the future of the club.
    He made mistakes this summer, in my opinion, but the club will be able to compete at the top level for the decades to come, due to his efforts. He should be allowed to complete his contract without all the sniping.
    I have complete faith that he will shine again.

  • Mahdain

    @doublegooner haha very funny…NOT.

  • Notoverthehill

    Dogface, Craig Murray had (has) a history of mental health problems. I can provide documented proof, if Mr Attwood so wishes, that only ONE FACT is true. Central Asia in the 1970s and early 1980s was corrupt. Alisher B Usmanov was caught by the GRU (military intelligence) and not the KGB, and was tried by military court martial. The head of the KGB in 1980 was Mr Andropov who was determined to root out the corruption and his friend, was the Soviet Military Commander in Kabul. A relative of the Soviet was inveigled into possibly a game of bridge and lost 30,000 roubles (according to Soviet Union rules was worth $60,000).

    Dogface and Mr Attwood, I can give you a link to an article by “The Guardian” interviewer, where Mr A B Usmanov offered to show the reporter the original charge sheet. This was not on the reporter’s agenda and therefore not accepted. I have copies of all relevant documentation on file. I do not have a copy of the original Usmanov charge sheet, but I am sure Mr Andropov was sent a copy and this copy is available at the KGB records in ….., near Moscow!

    The Daily Mail was forced by solicitors acting for Mr A B Usmanov to “cough up” damages. I am sure you will find this on the internet, if not I have a copy on file.

    Please make up your own minds regarding the veracity of Craig Murray;s allegations!

  • elkieno

    Ian Trevette I love your comment! That is exactly how I feel I just wish all the negative nelly’s would realise it….
    Great game last night that should shut up the AAA ladies for a week it so… I say great we put 5 past them. AAA say good win but were still shit cos we let 2 goals in easily blah blah…

    Fuk all them dirty cockroaches!!