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Living Legend or Past his Sell by Date? A Norwich fan’s view of Mr Wenger

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As Untold Arsenal has steadily increased its audience, we have started to attract many comments on the site from fans of other clubs.  Now, for the first time, we are publishing an article by a non-Arsenal fan. 

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Living Legend or Past his Sell by Date? – By Rob McCauley, a lifelong Norwich City fan and general football writer.

Following the defeats at the hands of AC Milan and Sunderland, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was arguably under more pressure than he’d ever been during his tenure at the club. No trophies in the cabinet for years, top players going elsewhere, and declining league positions have seen many fans come to the conclusion that the end is nigh for ‘Le Professeur’, and at this time I think there’s no more apt phrase to remind them of than “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.

What Wenger has achieved in his reign as Arsenal manager is truly unbelievable and I’m going to try to demonstrate why I think this is through the use of facts and figures.

The general rule of thumb when deciding if a manager is good enough usually comes down to a few key factors:

A) What titles they win
B) Quality/Style of football
C) Man Management
D) What they win in comparison to expenditure on players

Now looking at these points we see that Arsenal have won the league 3 times under Wenger, finished runners up 5 times and have never finished outside the top 4 during his 16 years at the club. On the cup front they’ve won the FA Cup 4 times and runners up once, been runners up in the league cup on 3 occasions (where Wenger tends to use his youth players) and won the Charity shield 4 times whilst being runners up twice. So domestically that’s a pretty impressive record.

They haven’t fared as well on the continent, with a single Champions league runners up medal and single UEFA cup runners up medal to claim, although they have featured prominently in the final stages of the Champions League throughout with 15 consecutive years in the Champions League..

The football that Wenger has got Arsenal playing has been nothing short of brilliant and at times unstoppable, as epitomised during their “Invincibles” season where they didn’t lose a single league game.

A short, passing game where Arsenal dominate possession is the order of the day, where vision and technique and teamwork are highly required. The only other teams to really play this type of football at this level are Barcelona and Spain – so that’s the club regarded by many as the best club side in the world, and current World and European champions. In fact, many have dubbed Arsenal as “Barcelona Lite”, in reference to their similar style of play.

When on form and playing their game, Arsenal are virtually unstoppable, unfortunately this has been less and less the case in recent seasons.

From a man management perspective, it’s again hard to argue against Wenger. A man noted for his generally calm demeanour (apart from when throwing water bottles down after bad decisions!), former players have nothing but good things to say about him both as a manager and an individual, and he’s often been the calming influence needed to bring players into line and help them develop. This is probably best illustrated in the form and ability of Robin Van Persie, who when signed by Wenger had a bit of a reputation of having a poor attitude and temper problems, something which Wenger has managed to restrain and since helped the guy hone his talents on the pitch into one of the best strikers of the modern game.

Ok, that’s all well and good you may say, but where are these ‘facts and figures’ you claim to have to back up this conjecture?

The truth is that I’ve saved them for this point because more than anything, I feel they display exactly what Wenger has achieved under point D in my ‘key factors’ table.

If we take some of the top clubs from the premiership, lets see what they’ve spent/recouped on players during the same period as Wenger, and what they’ve achieved with this spending:

Man Utd
£460,000,000 spent – £284,675,000 recouped – Total net outgoings  -£175,325,000

9 League titles, 2 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 7 Charity Shields, 2 Champions Leagues and 1 world club cup.

9 league titles in 16 years is phenomenal by any standards, and love or hate Man Utd, they are the dominant force in English football, both historically and in the last 20 years. World class players along with one of the best managers ever to grace the game, they truly are deserving of respect for their achievements. That being said, a £175 million loss during this time period is not insubstantial, and whilst there are other teams with higher losses, this has to be taken into perspective and if we were to split this evenly throughout, then that’s an £11 million pound loss EVERY season in order to achieve their results.

Chelsea
£720,830,000 spent – £216,185,000 recouped – Total net outcome is -£504,645,000

3 League titles (with 4 runners up places), 5 FA Cup Titles, 3 League Cup titles, 3 Charity shields (4 runners up places), 1 UEFA cup winners cup and a runners up place in the Champions league.

So the same number of league titles as Arsenal, but with 1 less runners up place, and the rest is fairly even. A string of different managers during this period, along with the appearance of billionaire owner Roman Abramovic who’s seemingly unlimited finances allow Chelsea the freedom to pretty much buy who they want, has seen mixed results and mixed football, from the relatively free flowing football under Gullit and Vialli, to the ‘effective’ football of Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea fans have seen a number of changes during the period, although a badly ageing squad is currently an issue.

Using the same theory as with Man Utd, Chelsea have spent the equivalent of £31.5 million a season to achieve their results.

Man City
£628,800,000 spent – £155,543,000 recouped – Total net outcome is -£473,257,000

1 League win, 1 FA cup, 1 runners up Charity Shield

With £453,270,000 of their spending coming in the last 4 years, Man City have taken over the reigns from Chelsea as the Premier League’s ‘Big Spenders’, thanks in no small part to the investment of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who’s personal net worth of over £17 billion means that like Chelsea, the sky is the limit in regards to signings and wages. Despite heavy expenditure on players in recent seasons, it’s only this year that Man City have managed to wage a genuine title run, and whilst they current top the table, arch rivals Man Utd are nipping at their heels all the way. Current manager Roberto Mancini has struggled at times with player control, notably the recent ‘Tevez affair’, and consistency on the pitch has been patchy. A league title will go some way to resolving this, but many argue that despite their recent form, as a manager, he can’t compare to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger

Man City have spent the equivalent of £29.6 million year to win pretty much nothing so far…

Other notable spending includes:

Liverpool
£523,330,000 spent – £318,870,000 recouped – Total net outcome is -£204,460,000

2 FA cups, 3 League cups, 2 Charity shields, 1 Champions League

Equivalent of £12.8 million a year for their results, with no league title.

Tottenham
£392,650,000 spent – £217,927,500 recouped – Total net outcome is -£174,722,500

2 League cups (with 2 runners up places).

Equivalent of £11 million a year in exchange for 2 league cups and no league title.

But how about Arsenal? What has Wenger done that’s so special? Let’s see:

Arsenal
£314,750,000 spent – £310,524,000 recouped – Total net outcome is -£4,226,000

That’s right, just a £4 million loss on the player front in 16 years of management, during which time they’ve signed world class players like Pires, Henry, Vieira, Anelka, Fabregas and Van Persie, won numerous league titles and played top class football.

That’s an equivalent of only £264,125 a season to achieve their result, so when the fair play rules kick in shortly and clubs like Man City and Chelsea are desperately trying to explain their spending and somehow cover the shortfalls from expenditure, Arsenal will be sat there smiling, showing how they are not only breaking even, but even reducing their debts, and all the while they have a manager who’s getting top 4 places EVERY SINGLE SEASON. They have a top class new stadium with highly manageable debts that are reducing every year, and despite all of this fans are not happy.

Seriously?

SERIOUSLY????

In a world gone mad with spending and excess, Wenger’s management is a guiding light of how things should be done, even business expert and Spurs fan Sir Alan Sugar has given Arsenal credit for their financial strategy, but to implement this whilst still maintaining title challenges every year is truly incredible.

In my mind, there isn’t another manager out there to replace Arsene Wenger. There are managers who will get good football, and managers who may get results, but how many of them can get all of this whilst, spending a relative pittance comparatively speaking, and bringing through young talent like Wenger has done consistently?

All fans want trophies and titles, that’s understandable, but I think the fans at Arsenal really need to sit back and take stock of the overall picture, as if it wasn’t for injuries and some form issues, Arsenal would likely have been challenging for the title again this year, and even so, a Champions League place is NOTHING to be sniffed at, most clubs would kill for these sort of results and league positions, yet many Arsenal fans appear ambivalent to their success – I just don’t get it.

As I said at the start, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, and if the fans push Wenger out, then I think this motto will come back to haunt them forever…

Rob McCauley writes the Indy_Bones & The Hunt For The Truth football blog.

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71 comments to Living Legend or Past his Sell by Date? A Norwich fan’s view of Mr Wenger

  • colonel mustard

    oh God, do I have to reply to this….I swear Wegner casts some spell im immune to. The money spent had nothing to do with it. Its his poor judgement and sheer ego over the last few seasons that have cost us.

  • colonel mustard

    no to mention last summer absolute debacle of a transfer window. absolute farce which anyone involved with should have been removed.

  • gee

    colonel mustard
    May 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    “poor judgement and sheer ego over the last few seasons that have cost us.”

    Wow, i have to say arrogance of some fans is amazing- get you.

    Even not looking at the 2 manchester clubs and chelsea his poor judgement and ego has actually helped to nearly pay of one of the best stadiums in europe, help us to sign top players (Podolski said wenger was a major factor in him signing), we have just finished 3rd after losing our best players for a season and having the most shocking start for 58yrs. thats right the 3rd best team in the league for less than the cost of torres left testicle and the bitching from some Arsenal fans is disgraceful – seriously the nearest ive come to this level of arrogance is Man utd supporters!!!

    we are not man city , man utd or chelsea,

    consider the state of the teams below and your moaning?

    Liverpool
    £523,330,000 spent – £318,870,000 recouped – Total net outcome is -£204,460,000

    2 FA cups, 3 League cups, 2 Charity shields, 1 Champions League

    Equivalent of £12.8 million a year for their results, with no league title.

    Tottenham
    £392,650,000 spent – £217,927,500 recouped – Total net outcome is -£174,722,500

    2 League cups (with 2 runners up places).

    Equivalent of £11 million a year in exchange for 2 league cups and no league title.

    But how about Arsenal? What has Wenger done that’s so special? Let’s see:

    Arsenal
    £314,750,000 spent – £310,524,000 recouped – Total net outcome is -£4,226,000

  • Legolas

    Hats off Wenger !!! i never doubted him and stupid moaners i would rather have a team who compete for 3rd position with a very good long term strategy and great academy rather than stupid bunch of Oil barons & money launderer who splash the cash and buy the title with mercenaries . Yessssssssss i am a very very proud Arsenal Fan and proud of Arsene Wenger , Pat Rice and everything they did with the club .i can’t see Arsenal without Arsene Wenger he is a Legend .IN ARSENE I TRUST.
    Please Please Untold writers please write us how Wenger showed always loyalty to his players and how he developed the likes of Henry coming from Juventus after a very bad season , RVP , Fabregas , Song , Koscienly ( last year all was moaning bad signing ) and the list goes on. we have Heroes in this club .

  • gee

    “colonel mustard
    May 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    no to mention last summer absolute debacle of a transfer window. absolute farce which anyone involved with should have been removed.”

    3rd is an improvement on last yr despite the fact as you say was “absolute farce which anyone involved with should have been removed.”

    how many teams have sacked their manager after coming in 3rd!! and they must have done something right to bring in players that actually improved us in the league despite losing 3 of our best players – so quick to wanna judge and condemm that you cant see any positive outcomes in the team you support – Shame

  • Legolas

    please i add to that and mention how Wenger turned off the offer of coaching real Madrid i guess 2 or 3 years ago.

  • John Gee

    Mr Colonel Mustard, do you really believe what you have written ??? Are you mental ??? AW is a genius – fact. What he has achieved is nothing short of miraculous. The main article barely mentions the fact that in the middle of all else a new stadium was built, a move taken place and at the same time a main contender for the title most years. Yes, I am one of those, thank goodness the majority, who give thanks for Arsene Wenger, long may he reign

  • Lanz

    Lovely article- based on facts! What about physical and structural acquisitions? The stadium, the training ground! Our stadium has become a model worldwide. The training centre is a Wow! any day. The man is a gift!!!

  • Tasos

    A very well written and balanced analysis.

    @colonel mustard

    “Its his poor judgement and sheer ego over the last few seasons that have cost us, not to mention last summer absolute debacle of a transfer window”.

    What a manager Wenger must be to get this poor group of players to finish 3rd in the league table after last summers transfer debacle.

    Genius.

  • Let us not let trollonel mustard’s comments distract us from a very nice article from a fan from another team – not too in depth with the finances (but we have swiss ramble for that) but enough to show what an asset Wenger is to Arsenal.

    It’s interesting that so many fans outside the Arsenal fanbase see things objectively – even spurs fans say we would be nothing without Wenger… and they mean it.

    I’m looking forward to next season already!

  • zdzis

    @colonel mustard: when you’re short on arguments, act stupid.
    @Rob McCauley & all: This definitely isn’t a professional analysis, but it is something to which we can easily relate – “we” meaning typical supporters who know sh*t about economics. The truth is Wenger did manage to get fabulous results out of a club that he has for years managed as Pardew now manages Newcastle – on the cheap. Ever since he got us into that Emirates move, Arsenal have maintained consistency in the league without signing practically anyone. Every season, he brought in 1, 2, sometimes 3 players who joined the 1st team straight away, sometimes with great success, sometimes only temporarily. The last two seasons have been a severe test. But I think it’s fair to say they witnessed such a massive overhaul that we’ll have to wait at least 5 years until another like that happens. And that’s the good news. Because now, it’s really enough to add 2-3 players to the existing squad and Arsenal can ride again. Which is something people like colonel mustard here consistently overlooked. Perhaps they took Wenger’s pleas for consistency too seriously…

  • Borntobeagunner(btbag)

    I always knew it that iam in the right club with the right manager. Practical Article by a non-arsenal fan there. Moaners just cant decamp i dont know why. They should just leave the club until arsenal started winning trophies again. Ooh! That will make them glory hunters. Are they really not? Hmmm! Iawt, Akb. A Nigerian Arsenal Fan.

  • gunnergetyou

    Anyone else think that Colonel mustard is really a spurs supporter?

    The article is well written and it’s good to get a relatively unbiased opinion backing up what most of us already know, that Arsene is nothing short of a genius. The only thing that is that dividing City’s net spending by 16 years gives an odd outcome, given that during the 16 years they’ve been as low as division 2. I’d just look at City in the last 4 years, then you’d getting net spending over 100m per year which is closer to the mark. Not that I begrudge them, Sheik Mansour can do whatever he wants with his money in my opinion, just don’t put Mancini up as a great manager for winning the title. Given that players like Adam Johnson aren’t making the bench, Steve Kean would have got City to the title.

    Bring on next season!! Even if we lose RVP I can see us taking a step forward (Podolski and Wilshere would already compensate). However if we can keep RVP then a title challenge is on the cards.

  • Nairobi Gooner

    Well written from a non-Arsenal fan, I don’t know if it is ok to ask but I wouldn’t mind reading more articles from the author especially about Norwich and his take on their debut season in EPL. Let me know if I can get his blog address please, cheers!

  • Kenevics

    A very interesting piece! Truly, a beholding topic, well-exhausted with facts. And from a non-gunner at that.
    Yes, fans-and just fans at that-are clamouring for the head of le Prof on a platter with blinded fury of an imp. Coolheaded men who know their onions simply settle down 2 a toast in praise of miraculous Wenger. Remember, football is business. A red balance sheet calls for serious questioning from any manager, be he whosoever! The fact is that the Arsenalbusiness is going on fine and the future is so bright. I duff my cap for Wenger and whoever does not like him being Arsenal’s manager for the years to come should go and kiss an electricity transformer, or better still, jump from a sky-scraper. Period!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Rob McAuley for this nice article.

    And then the first comment from colonel mustard….

    This is a perfect example of why some things are difficult to understand.
    Over here on Untold most of us are rather happy with the way the board and our manager run the club.
    The building of a stadium, a training center, paying for all kinds of other costs relating to the building of the Emirates like paying for the companies that had to move, … and all this while staying in the top 4 year after year.

    And in those “barren” years we were runners up twice in the carling cup and lost twice in a heartbreaking way but that is just part of football and finals. Lost the Champions league final after playing almost the whole game with 10 men. We came close enough on a few occasions. We got robbed in the season 2007/2008 by the refs….

    If all would have been fair in football we even would have won a few things. Now we didn’t. But the pain that brought will all be gone once we win our first price again. In fact it will be even sweater because of those “barren” years.

    I think 96% of the fans of normal clubs (so not MU, MC and Chelsea) would bite off their hand (if not both) to have Wenger as their manager. Okay, take it back. Not the Stoke fans. But they are also not a normal club. 😉

  • ak47

    great art rob, its a shame outsiders can see what can only be described as spuds in disguise(sids?) cant.
    ive had a fairly religious up bringing so references to deities sits obesely on a stool….but, he is one of the closest. not in just achievements but in values very important to me. morals, respect and equality. arsene has built arsenal for the football lover not the glory hunter who relies on the achievements of others to prop up their below average self esteem. speaking of which….

    indeed dogface, mad colon rustle is either a cockerel, troll or so dim only divine intervention will help him.

    the day arsene leaves will be the day i start to panic like the AAA have done previously.

  • ak47

    oh yh,

    loving the new kit cant wait to see the lads running havoc in em.

    P-should we push up boss?
    B-no they got walcott and the ox, they’ll run in behind.
    P-so we sit deep then?
    B-errr…no. they’ve got podolski now and he can beat his man and has a mean shot from distance.
    P-so whats the plan?
    B-kick em, they didnt get one penalty on home turf, i reckon refs dont like them.

  • ak47

    oh yh pt2.

    ive been looking for the video of the laurent celebration at brom with no luck. i thought i saw someone so overwhelmed by joy to point of being drunk. its like he spaced out then was attacked by his team with happiness. couldnt of happened to a better bloke. legend for sure.

  • Cent

    Even in the midst of all these explanations and facts trollonel mustard still decides to be a… well himself,for that sheer display of stupidity at its best i think he just won himself an Oik of the week award.

  • Bigsam

    Oh to be a gooner!
    God bless Arsene and His Arsenal. Maybe I might just reveal here that I’m first of all an Arsene fan and then an Arsenal fan. I believe in Arsene and his ways.

  • Emmanuel Uchegbu

    Wow! Wonderful article from You. Arsene has done a great job for Arsenal. He showed Love, passion and loyalty even when fans all over the world booed him and wanted him out. He is not just a coach but a true epitome of a Manager and motivator. Think of his class of players and think of his League position, think of his managerial ethics. In ARSENE WE TRUST.

  • Ernest

    I prophesy that in very few years to come many premiership clubs will go into “administration”. UEFA’s FFP will catch up with them, they will be hit by the “adjustment” some countries in Europe will make so as to avoid any sort of melt down.
    Putting sentiments aside, this is a fairly balanced article. I am not crazy for titles to the point of throwing caution to the winds. The society is so REAL today that the IDEAL is relegated to the background. Many will like us to be in debt as long as we make some noise with trophies in an industry that commands over 280 billion dollars. Whatever the collapse of that will do to upcoming generation is trash to us.
    I want to be entertained after some hard times at work and AW and his small boys do provide that week in week out.
    Let’s be REASONABLE.
    Thank you WENGER.

  • Hi Guys,

    Can I start by offering a massive thank you to Tony for putting this article onto the site, as although I’ve been writing for a number of years, this is the largest site to offer me space for an article (certainly since “The Nest”, a Norwich fansite where I wrote went down years ago), and I massively appreciate the opportunity.

    Since coming here a few weeks ago following the Norwich game I’ve read a number of good articles from the UA team, particularly the ref reviews which shed a very interesting light on some games, and having written this article only a short while ago, I hoped it would be something that many members would appreciate, and so far that seems to be the case.

    I write articles about a number of football related events, and if the UA team is happy to allow it, I’ll also be happy to post a link to my blog. [I’ll do this for you in the article Rob – DF]

    Thanks again

    Rob

  • The font

    Everyone is entitled to there opinion but the people who constantly abuse wengers achievements are supporting the wrong club under the circumstances proberley the best manager of all time

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Dear Mr. Rob McCauley,

    How much did Arsenal funnel to your cat’s offshore account through Untold Arsenal’s bloggers? Sorry for the pointed question but this pattern and manner of payment is a well established menthod of those who work at Untold towers, publishers of Untold Arsenal. So, we are pretty certain they didn’t deviate from their method.

    Be advised that the whole matter of paying people to write favorable articles in blogs – especially, the Untold Arsenal blog, have come to the attention of the MET police – on account of some whistle blower’s complaint within the ranks of Untold Arsenal management.

    Police is pusuing this investigation diligently and has made great break through on account the report from PGMOL detailing the concerted, persistent and shameless effort mounted by Arsenal to penetrate, intimidate and overawe PGMOL throughout the season via the blackmail and strongarm tactics mounted by Arsenal again, through some writers in Arsenal’s payroll via the Untold Arsenal blog.

    To save yourself, you are advised to come forward and come clean speedily. HM has nice witness protection programs for those who become crown witnesses.

  • Tabon-tabon Gooner

    @ Bigsam: thanks for coming out. Knowing am not the only one gives me the courage to declare that I am an Arsenal fan because I’m an Arsene fan. All hail the Lord Arsene Wenger!

  • UMOH EKWO

    Yes, there is no doubt that Wenger has achieved much for the club but you cannot exonerate him from poor judgement which otherwise, Arsenal would have done better with the same conditions. What is the sense keeping 35 players of which only just a little play regularly ? Remember in the 2010/ 2011 reason, Arsenal was in a position to win the premier league but this was not to be because we could not cope with injuries and had no quality players to play. Even this past season, for six weeks, we did not have full backs and we suffered defeats and lost points.All the matches Arteta did not play, we lost except this last one. These are evidences of poor judgement we are talking about. Every body has a right to support any one he or she wants but some of us criticize Wenger not because we have not seen his achievements but because some of his judgements have made us not to achieve more.

  • Arvind

    @IndyBones: You’re most welcome here as long as you back whatever you say up logically even if you have a diametrically opposite opinion to what every other person here has.

  • nicky

    Rob,
    An interesting article but missing the most important aspect of the Wenger Years.
    You say that during the last 16 years, Arsenal have signed world class players like Henry, Vieira, Pires etc,etc. That is simply not true. Most if not all were quite ordinary performers until Arsene Wenger (with his visionary gift) took them on and moulded them into the legends they became. Such is the talent of the man!!

  • Pius G. Chomo

    I am breathless. For the first time in a very long time (well, may be not that long really)I am feeling so ecstatic by the reaction of all gooner faithfuls that have reacted to this article by Rob. More pleasing to me is the dressing down that one nincompoop colonel has received for his display of sheer stupidity.

    And I thought I was the only living diehard Arsene/Arsenal fan (wink). My God, I love you guys, you true fans. You are the best. You are heroes, you are the real heroes for your resilient and steadfast support to the club and The Boss in the face of the recent difficulties we have had to endure. I so love Arsenal. Gunner for life. Oh Yes!

  • john L

    Rob, thank you and amen.

    Thankfully Arsenal and Arsene are very smart. I believe they can see this small minded, small group of so called supports for what they are. Arsene wont walk because the village idiots started to make a little noise. I actually believe this strengthens his resolve. Principled men always stand proud in the face of opposition.

    IN ARSENE WE TRUST!

  • Damien Luu

    @UMOH EKWO: Can you please tell me what the hell “judgements” have to do when you lose all of your fullbacks due to injuries? Oh, I know, you, with your great judgement, would buy 22 fullbacks, just in case, right? Similarly, you would buy 22 centerbacks, 120 midfielders and 44 strikers, so they can freely get injured without giving you anything to worry about.

    Wait a min, did you miss something? There is a little rule said you can only have a squad of 25 players! Darn! So your plan A went into the trash can. But you still have your great judgement, so you go to plan B, which is playing anyone and everyone at the Club except your 25 players so they couldn’t get injured. The chef will keep our goal. The physios will play defenders and our great groundman will be our only striker. Hopefully you can ask our Board to play in midfield roles. Hats off to Mr Great Judgement! His team will surely win trophy after trophy, and all of that, I repeat, ALL OF THAT ACHIEVEMENT, come from his GREAT JUDGEMENT! Hoorey! Hoorey! Hoorey!

  • Matt Clarke

    Thanks for the well written and well argued article.

    It’s as pleasing that non-AFC fans appreciate AW as it is surprising and saddening how many AFC fans seem not to.

    I look forward to your next – maybe you can explain to us the difference between City and Town for NCFC fans. (An internal rivalry as fierce as any cross-club rivalry and yet we know so little about it).

  • Pius G. Chomo

    Umoh Ekwo, what poor judgement are you talking about really? The judgement of spending wisely on players while maintaining stability at the top end of the epl regularly and at the same balancing the books so nicely? get a grip freind. Perhaps you need to read this article again and get a [proper grasp of the gist.

    However, if by your “poor judgement” you are alluding to tactical errors during some of our matches, then you may be forgiven for your ignorance. Bcos I say this to you, even other greats in the same league with Wenger – Ferguson, Mourino, Pep, e.t.c. all make several tactical errors during matches every season. Some manager get to be lucky and don’t get to be made to regret making those tactical mistakes. Some others don’t get to be so lucky. No manager is God. No manger can predict that a player who performs incredibly well during training sessions would for some inexplicable reasons fail to perform on The Day. That’s how life goes. Football is unpredictable. It is this unpredictability, with all the attendant apprehension, joy, laughter, tears that excites the passion that makes it beautiful. That is why it is called the beautiful game. Wenger and Arsenal have done great. Next season, hopefully we’ll get some returns following the rebuilding process that has been going on, although not yet completed. WE WILL GET THERE! Did I hear someone shout AMEN?

  • Damien Luu

    Seriously, there is only ONE Arsene Wenger, and we are very very very (add 108 more “verys”) lucky to have him. No, it’s not only luckiness, it’s a great, brave decision by our Board to bring him here and to stick with him and his philosophy. A big Thank You to them for that.

    Every time I think about what it will be after he stops, it scares the hell out of me. Who can replace him to do it our way, to continue the route, the model that we have chosen? I see no one! I just hope that he stays long enough to build a very solid foundation for whoever will succeed him, so that guy won’t have to pull out the AW’s magic in every single season!

  • SG Gooner

    Yeah I agree with everyone’s comments about colonel mustard’s comment. Generally I am still very proud of the Arsenal, and I still think that Wenger is the best man for the job. Couldn’t imagine the club being managed by anyone else. We have always come close, or at least put up a fight for a challenge every year.

    In Arsene we trust.

    (Forget all these ‘fans’ that think they know exactly what ‘steps’ and ‘purchases’ Wenger should make. They’ve been playing too much FM.)

  • Jeffery

    I’m a fan. I don’t give a sh*t about finances. I just want trophies.

  • Ryan

    I’m a fan. I don’t care about finances. I just want trophies.

    If Arsenal make money, do I make money? Of course not.

    The last three years the premier league has been won by manchester city, manchester united, and chelsea. Is not to difficult to figure out the pattern: they all spend money on quality signings.

    I have the upmost respect for Mr. Wenger. But, please, please, please SPEND SOME MONEY!!!

    All us fans want is for Mr. Wenger to recognize that this current side is close to title wining quality, but it isn’t there yet. Bringing in some quality signings can bring us there. We don’t need 30 or 40 million euro signings, but a few quality players such as M’Vila would be appreciated.

    …at the end of the day only one thing matters to me. I love Arsenal, and will faithfully support them every year through thick and thin, but if they don’t win a trophy next year I just might go crazy.

  • Persian gunner

    Wonderful article! I can not even imagine Arsenal with out Arsene Wenger!
    It is a real joy reading all these brilliant comments from you guys!
    Actually I just got sick from AAA nagging about every think!
    I’m so proud of you gunner friends! 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Jeffrey and Ryan,
    that is the whole point you are fans. Most of us over here are supporters.

    And if you have 1 billion £ somewhere available go and buy us success if you can. Arsenal does not have such money so cannot spend it.

  • Mahdain

    @ryan so since we dont spend money how did we get Arteta,Santos,Gervinho and now Podolski? By giving their teams peanuts?

  • I sometimes wonder if you need your team to have gone through a bad spell to truly appreciate the good ones.

    I see this season as a triumph for us, and a great season for Arsenal, yet many fans see nothing special in what we’ve done, and think 3rd is a shocking result.

    I’ll be honest here and say that anyone who isn’t happy with a 3rd place finish in this league, and against this level of competition, should probably get their meds altered. It’s a fantastic acheivment and deserves a lot of credit, particularly considering some of the injury nightmares along the way.

    When did playing well and keeping a club sustainable become unacceptable? Is it seriously just about trophies for some fans? Let’s see what happens in the next year or so when clubs like Man City and Chelsea are asked to explain their accounts under the FFP rules…

  • I’m a space cadet – I don’t give a shit about reality; I just want fantasy!

  • nicky

    @Indy-Bones,
    Well said. After a shaky start, we have gained an almost miraculous 3rd place and the CL next term.
    Liverpool have a trophy and nothing else. Do our so-called
    (discontented) fans feel that the Scousers have had a better season?

  • Wooby

    @Jeffery and @Ryan, you can always support ‘Pool. They win trophies such the Mickey Mouse cup which helps them to … oh, wait, what does it winning it do for a club?

    I will get ready to enjoy some CL action next season and know that our club will be there for generations to come because it does not try to live beyond its means.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Thank you Rob, for the view from without,so to speak, and as you can see from the reaction to it, it is far from a happy house within.
    Disregard the naysayers, they clearly belong to the other side of north london, where they wouldn’t recognize class.
    Mr Arsene Wenger is the epitome of class, a statesman in a manager’s tracksuit.
    Some of us are already weeping, ahead of that day because it will come and we cannot think of anyone who can approach the same completeness as a manager. But then we are arsenal fans and the board have done right by us for generations and so when that day comes, i will continue to support and enjoy this fantastic club.

  • Mihir

    Nice Article Rob!I think most of the fans( glory hunters!) are too influenced by the media. If 99% of the people decide that something is a lie(even if its the truth!) it is a lie. Unfortunately, most of us are just sheep and are being herded by the media(the shepherd!).
    When David Moyes can be praised for what he does, why cant Arsene be given the same respect? Are we really that blind?

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Geewhiz…….we seem to have so many simpletons on the UA website with such dubious ¨insight¨ and ¨expert¨ opinions about Wenger and his ¨stubbornness¨, his ¨poor¨judgement, his ¨failure¨to spend money and so on….but as Dogface said, who wants reality when you can live in Fantasyland?
    I won’t spend time deflating their tender egos, since better bloggers than me have already done so but here are a few things everyone should consider (Reality Football):

    1)The manager, regardless cannot do more than train,prepare and motivate his players for a game. Once the game begings he has 15 minutes at half-time to rebuild their spirits or re-motivate them. f Wenger is such a clown (as those fools claim), then how did he manage to have the highest number of EPL victories when trailing at half time?
    2)Wenger has brought in about 32 new signings or youth players since he became manager 15 years ago. He has spent 50% less for those transfers than any other top 4 team in that time. He has developed 12 players so far, who were or still are valued at over 40M Euro and he has never had a season out of the top 4 in all that time. God if that isn’t a lack of judgement, what is? Most EPL teams would love to have such misjudgement from their managers.
    3)This season ,in my humble opinion, has shown his absolute mastery and dominance of Football management skills,expertise and people motivation since he started 15 years ago. He took a team in the relegation zone in September, nurtured it through two horrible subsequent downturns, the loss of his star midfielder and countless other injuries, some awful performances against bottom half teams and still managed to reach 3rd place, celebrate St.Totteringham’s Day for the 16th straight year AND make the CL for the 15th straight year, while all the while making an astounding series of transfers with players like Arteta, Mertesacker, the Ox, Gervinho,Benayoun,and Jenkinson coming in at the bell. Now we have

    While this was,by far, the scariest season we have had in a long time, and with Na$ri, Cesc and Clichy all departing, we had serious doubts about whether we’d be in the top half of the EPL never mind the top 4 but here we are 3rd, in the CL and looking good for some titles next season.Not bad for a manager who has ¨lost it¨…..God help our opponents if Wenger ever ¨find it!¨

  • Stuart

    Can I get your opinions please.

    What is the order of priority for the trophies on offer / What is your order of preference? And further to that, if you were to allocate points to this, how would you score each of the different prizes?

    ie, League – 5 pts, Champs League – 5 pts, FA Cup – 3 pts, League cup – 1 point???

  • Gord

    My apologies. I know I have a bunch of stuff to read on my 27 years article. For better or worse, 27 years looks to be a reasonable time span to do analysis. To the best of my knowledge (living in western Canada, where everyone just talks hockey, gridiron and that quasi sport baseball),
    there are only two 2-horse leagues in Europe at a high level: Spain and Scotland. I’ve heard about the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona, are there discriminatory undertones present between those two cities? Rangers/Celtic has a religion problem by most reports. I see little difference between Madrid and Barcelona, which might point to a lack of serious discriminatory factors between those 2 cities.

    I need to bring in figures. JPEGs are best?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for your thoughts on this, great article and some very valid points. Wenger has achieved miracles. We cannot spend like some, now even Chelsea cannot compete with citeh, will roman lose interest? Liverpool cannot compete financially , but tried to sign a load of British premium players in the twenty to thirty million bracket, less said about that, the better! Dalglish is as I write in limbo. Back to Arsenal, I do think we need a fresh approach to defending, if we get that, we can challenge.
    Anyone notice the unpleasant things nasri has been saying about our club recently, we can all laugh when Eden hazard takes his place, and he is shipped on , surplus to requirements, could be a soon to be ade, bridge or santa cruz.
    But thanks again for a great article from a fan of another team with an interesting perspective. Strange, if you get a sensible spud and take the tribalism out, they often say very similar things about wenger as mentioned in this piece

  • SouthernGunner

    If this article doesn’t do away with any doubt about Wenger’s abilities and competency for the job, I don’t know what will. The guy truely knows what he’s doing and has proved that over the last 16 years. We’ve been spoilt at Arsenal for having two great managers follow each other in relatively quick succession, so it’s easy for us to think that great managers, as well as great players, are only a big payday/transfer fee away. But as we’ve seen with other clubs, that’s not the case. Greatness doesn’t grow on trees, nor does any Tom, Dick or Harry (shouldn’t that be ‘Arry?) on the street possess the talent, intelligence, vision and know-how to do a good job in football management.

    Many thanks.

  • SouthernGunner

    @Mandy Dodd

    I’m half expecting to see Na$ri eventually loaned out to Spurs at some point. But even they are too classy for him! He sold out long before City had even won a title, and quite frankly is up there with Tevez in terms of disgraceful attitude. I can respect the likes of Hart and Kompany, who were at the club long ago, but not him.

    If he was all about winning trophies, he’d have gone to United. As it stands, he collected a winners medal largely on the backs of his team mates hard work. By the looks of things, he’d better get used to being on the bench too, because he may well end up playing even less next season.

  • Gord

    @Rob McCauley

    Thanks for the article.

  • gooner murphy

    @ Rob mc auley indy-bones

    Thanks a lot for your Independent honest analysis hopefuly some so called Fans will take note of your splendid artical,looking forward to reading more from you soon.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks Rob for this fine article .True fans have never waivered in our belief in Arsene and Arsenal .I dread the day he leaves and the possibility that we may drift rudderlessly .

  • Arvind

    @Gord: Whatever you do…make sure that your JPEG has 1 root node and all content towards the right; otherwise the software at Untold turns its nose up : )

  • elkieno

    You know what I think? If all the arsenal fans/supporters were in a big room with an MC reading this or many other Untold Articles out loud, then after we could say our comments like we do here, I bet you’ll find that the AAA will all be kids, teens or seriously mentally challenged folk.
    It just amazes me that these ppl think like that for grown adults. We all no how bad credit cards can be when managed badly, we know that getting into debt is only worth it when u can pay it off and own a beautiful house to then pass to the children once paid off to sell and buy bigger or live in. That is why the AAA must be just young ppl that are inpatient like I was as a teen or 20 something. Either that or they are just fans of other clubs, jelous!!!

  • Mariajulie

    Absolutely first class – Wenger is a genius who now and again gets it wrong. If everybody who made mistakes now and again in their work got the sack imagine the chaos and anarchy?

    Excellent article

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree southern Gooner. Mind you, nasris agents did try to get him to utd, but wenger refused, they also quite openly courted psg! And probably that new rich russian team too!

  • Wamala

    Great article, AAA guys forget that most clubs in europe would pay more than 1000,000,000£ for the invincibles team and how much did it cost?

  • ArseneWenger30

    Very Perspicacious Indy,and a great article.

    Arsene Wenger is a mastermind and without him the club would struggle.I don’t believe there is another manager that can do what he does with the financial restraints he has and getting a side playing the quality of football that we play.

    My only criticism is,i think he needs to work on the defending more.It seems a little too easy for teams to score against us,and if the defence was more solid,i think we could challenge.

    Mourhino could not do what Wenger does,he needs millions to spend and no salary cap. He could not rebuild a side like Wenger,year after year with shrewd signings.

    I just hate to see it when all the fans are saying he should be sacked and we need someone new. It just shows how fickle they are,and they forget what he has done for the club and how great he is.

    THERE IS ONLY ONE ARSENE WENGER!!!!!

  • Asif

    i think we should ban some of these myopic morons from posting comments for a few days…the entire joy and thrill of this season is being marred by the trophy brigade. They are the same fans who do not understand that any other team in a situation like ours would have imploded and it would have been cataclysmic and how can they be faulting Lord Wenger for the Cesc and Nasri incident. He is a man of dignity and perhaps something really sinister happened behind the scenes which anyother coach would have brought out in public but he has kept quiet…Do you think Wenger does not want to win trophies? If that was not the case he would not be hanging around!

    Success at what cost…City won it on goal difference and we beat them at home/they have not become a footballing superpower and I would have hated if an Arsenal player had done a Tevez or if say RvP and Arteta had ended up in a skirmish over a free kick…our team is class! Do these supposed AAA even feel the joy to see on of our own players coming through the ranks and matching the best…i guess not…

  • Dwangoon

    Arsenal is not that glorified…. similarly, the club spends huge amounts of wages for players just to sit on bench or to be forgotten from the game.

    Transfers only show part of the story… good footballer wages are not cheap in contrast to their transfer fee, and a club of Arsenal calibre, one of the richest in the world, but with a squad not even in top 10. Soon people will realise that need to change, it is a football club, not a bank.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Gord,
    Madrid/Barca isn’t religious, it’s fascists versus nationalists, Castile versus Catalonia, the establishment versus the rebels. In some parts of Spain calling someone a Spaniard is a bit of an insult, akin to calling a proud Scot an Englishman.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    If only a daily would publish this article…

  • Ong Bing

    @Rob, like this! Thank you very much for writing this article, specially you are not Arsenal fan.

    Guys, remember the Big Four era?
    Anyone know where is the other two?

    Again, terima kasih Rob.

  • lewq

    it is only tells half the story if you dont account for wages im afraid, our bill is pretty high!

  • JayJay

    LewQ.
    You may be right but, other club spendings don’t count for wages too…..This is the fact that we spent much less than any other club but ended up with more trophies….

  • To those who mention the omission of wages, that’s a fair point, but in reality Arsenal are known for having one of the tightest wages structures out of the ‘big’ sides and have repeatedly refused to break this even when players demanded more. You only have to look at the Adebayor situation to see this, where AFC would only pay approx 100k per week, and Man City gave him 180k – virtually double.

    The simple fact is that you can’t get top class players to accept peanuts each week, and this again is where Wenger’s strategy has been excellent, as he’s brought the players in young or who were relatively unknown, and hasn’t had to pay silly wages until the players starting getting ‘too big for their boots’, such as Flamini and Adebayor.

    I really don’t know why ANY Arsenal fan would want to criticise the incredibly sensible way the club is being run financially, especially when you’re still getting top class players each season and getting top four places each season.

    You should try being massively in debt and stuck in the lower leagues for a decade to get a bit of a reality check…