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They may be Anti-Arsenal, but they’re our Anti-Arsenal

By Simon Bailey

They may be Anti-Arsenal, but they’re our Anti-Arsenal

or

Why they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

I love the Arsenal. No, I mean it, I really love the Arsenal. There are things I love more; my family, my home, and my dearly departed brindle lurcher to name a few. But apart from these, the Arsenal is my all consuming passion.

All of my work buddies and friends support different teams, and of all my family only my eldest son and father-in-law are fellow gooners. My missus worships the ground that Torres walks on, and her brother is a spud.

This past year I have had supporters of United, City, Villa, West Ham, the spuds, Liverpool and Pompey join me to watch games either in HD or via the internet. There is always plenty of banter and mirth making, but we are all bound together by our love for our respective teams.

Not many of us actually get to see our teams play in the flesh, and indeed if I get to come over twice a year to see us play, then that’s a good year. But we are all dedicated footie supporters.

I have often heard cries of anguish when their teams lose but not once have I heard any of them complain about off field issues. My wife never complains about Rafa or Hicks or Gillette or the Europa cup. My buddy Shocky doesn’t care that United are wallowing in debt. John, my brother-in-law doesn’t give a hoot that the spuds never amount to anything. And Arlo and Stan (Villa & WHU) are eternal optimists. I could go on but it’s the same story for all concerned.

I am not saying that all fans of other teams love every aspect of how their team is run, let’s face it United and Liverpool fans have plenty to complain about. However Ferguson, Benitez, and Zola are not the targets. Sure the press may occasionally have a half hearted pop at them but it isn’t sustained and the next issue will generally have a different target or theme.

So what’s up with Arsenal and Arsene? Why have the the press and the anti-Arsenal painted a great big bulls-eye on them?

It can’t be silverware, because in the last 10 years only three EPL clubs have more than us.

It can’t be league position because in the last 10 years we have never finished lower than fourth. We have been in the Top flight longer than any other English team, indeed it’s almost a century since we were promoted from the second division and we haven’t looked back.

It can’t be lack of European football because for the last 10 years we have had it every year.

It can’t be our financial situation, because ours is currently the best in the EPL. I know Chelsea and City have sugar daddies but they still can’t manage to post a profit in their respective end of year accounts, and we all know about the situation at OT and Anfield.

It can’t be our lack of youth training and recruitment, because ours is the best in the EPL if not the world. For instance, the whole of the Ivory Coast national team were recruited and trained by one of our worldwide soccer schools. Our youth and reserves teams are playing exceptionally well and have been for a few years now.

In fact we are doing so well on this front that it makes it almost impossible for Arsene to find better players in the transfer windows. Last year we signed two first team players, Arshavin and Vermaelen. Both of these deals went to the wire because Arsene will not pay over the odds for anyone.

It can’t be because our manager and most of our players are not British, because its 2010. Britain is truly a multi-cultural society, the French own and supply many of our utilities: power, water etc. and there is a great big tube linking us to the continent.

Most of our hospitals are staffed by immigrants, who also do most of the jobs that are ‘beneath’ us. Our national dish is Chicken Tikka Massalla, most of us drive to the match in cars made by non British companies or watch it on TVs or PCs manufactured abroad. Sky Tv is owned by an Australian, ESPN is American and Setanta is Irish (yes, I still get to see 3pm Saturday kick offs every week on Setanta).

It can’t be our lack of training and playing facilities. Our state of the art training ground in Hertfordshire, funded from the profit from selling Anelka, is the envy of all EPL teams and we play at the newest and best ground in the country.

It can’t be because our players continually exhibit anti-social behaviour in public because, driving offences aside, the most recent scandal was a photo of Bendtner with his trousers round his ankles looking bewildered as he left a night club, and we all know that the photographer paid his mate to pull them down at just the right moment, hence the bewildered look.

In short, they’ve got nothing, nil, nada. Not a leg to stand on. Every argument thrown up (literally) has been countered very eloquently by the Pro Wenger / Arsenal crowd.

In this lead up to the world cup, in which many of our players will be going to South Africa, the English press, as is to be expected, are whipping up a pro-English furore. Unfortunately for us (or fortunately) not many of our players will be sporting the 3-lions crest and so negativity towards the opposition (us) wrapped up in fervent nationalism is the order of the day.

This doesn’t bother me a great deal because English press = Engand squad = no brainer. The beauty of the internet is that anyone with an opinion can voice it quite anonymously.

This is where Anti-Arsenal has exploded. Any two bit scrote with a hangover and a bad attitude can vent their frustration free from the normal restrictions of truth, clarity and news-worthiness. To tell you the truth, I read Legrove every day, normally for the hilarity factor of the ‘bboooommmm’ first comments. Although I heartily disagree with most of their content, I have to admit that, as a diatribe, most of it is well written. Unlike many blogs with the word ‘Arsenal’ in the title.

The question still remains; why so negative about the team they love? I think it’s just  another facet of the modern society we live in. Impatience is the new patience. As I pointed out earlier, over the last 10 years we have been very successful, but 10 years is 2/3 of a lifetime for a lot of bloggers and so the five-trophyless-years stick which they beat their keyboards with is pertinent to them.

We all know that if Arsene left, two things would happen. Firstly he would be able to walk into just about any team in the world. Secondly, we would struggle, probably for years, to replace him.

We also know that if Arsenal reverted to football 2.0, things wouldn’t change for the better. We might be able to buy our way to a trophy or two a-la United or Chelsea, but there’s no guarantee. We could always do a Harry and bankrupt our team for one bus-top parade. Or we could do a City, get a sugar daddy and still fail to play inspiring football or fill our stadium.

Personally I wouldn’t change a thing. Not the manager, not the team, not the press or even the anti-Arsenal. They are all now inextricably linked and are what make The Arsenal what it is today.

Simon Bailey.

————————————————————

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61 comments to They may be Anti-Arsenal, but they’re our Anti-Arsenal

  • diceman1984

    Good piece Simon.

    You nailed it when you said Wenger would walk into ANY team. There will be more than 10 top side European teams who will race for his signature. He’s that good.

    He’s stubborn, he has his mistakes, but one thing that can’t be said of him is his commitment and love for Arsenal Football Club and its supporters.

    Look at his records and doings and we all would see that he’s never made a single decision in favor of himself.

    He almost single-handedly moved us to the new stadium, pushed our club to be in the same league as the other top European teams, always give us wonderful football, brought us tons of once-in-a-life-time players, and not to mentioned he’s the most successful in terms of silverware and financial manager that ever worked for Arsenal.

    But sometimes it’s not enough for some. Hiddink is so much better because he won a FA Cup with 500 Billion squad.

    For all he has done for my beloved club, he will always get my support as a fan, not a blind follower, but just someone who love what he achieved for Arsenal and the pride he brought into it with.

  • Uf Simon, after this article its really impossible to say anything else.
    Masochist in me would like if Arsene will go (hm ok I am telling this from rage), just to show “objective supporters” how it can suddenly turn in to misery we sow after Graham. And who would than be to blaim.

    Just before Chelsea game, on site run by Bosnian Arsenal SC I had to notice we get more respect from opposition than from our own “objective supporters”.
    Changing Wenger may bring some good, but it may also bring total disaster, but who will than be to blame?

  • walter

    Great article Simon.

    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that AW has spoiled the fans to much in his first years. He should have won less trophys. 😉 He made life difficult on himself by spoiling the fans and give them the impression that we would win every year a trophy.
    This attracts some glory hunters and those now feel betrayed.

    Instant succes, statisfaction, glory, etc…. is a modern times disease. People want it now and not tomorrow. You can see this in most part of society.

    What Wenger is doing can be compared with building a cathedral in ancient times. The cathedrals are still standing there after 500 years. Wenger is building an Arsenal cathedral that can survive all kinds of storms. But in the building years you had to make sacrifices as the fans have to do now. The good thing is that in the glory hunters who only support The Arsenal for the trophy’s will be gone and the real fans who support The Arsenal for what The Arsenal is standing for will stay.

    Boooommm 😉

  • well-endowed gooner

    Simon, let’s start with our defensive naivety. That’s a pretty big leg to stand on. How about not spending the Toure and Adebayor transfer money on players to reinforce this squad? A condition on the bank loan was that 75% of transfer dealings had to be reinvested in the squad. We spent most of that windfall on renewing player contracts, and I don’t see the benefit of giving Denilson a 40k contract, or Diaby a 60k one, when they haven’t done anything to prove one. For the money we squandered on those renewals, we could’ve bought a good ‘keeper and paid him a 5 year contract. That’s another leg to stand on. Now we’re walking. How about not playing Arshavin in the FA Cup semi-final last year because Wenger wanted to show “his boys” that they could win without Arshavin? That’s a third leg right there…. no wonder they call me well-endowed!

  • walter

    Well-endowed gooner,

    Arshavin played this year against Chelsea in both games and… we lost both games and….. last year’s fa cup semi we came closest to winning against Chelsea in the past year and he didn’t play.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Walter, Arshavin was flying last year, and we benched him for that FA Cup semi-final. It was the only trophy we were in realistic contention for, and we didn’t play our best team. It wasn’t that Arshavin wasn’t match-fit, or injured, or had a secret weakness that only Hiddink knew about… it was because Wenger chose to give his boys a morale boost rather than try to win a game. Okay, we might’ve lost with Arshavin in the team as well, but we owed it to ourselves to at least play the best team.

  • You beauty. Super article Simon.

    Wenger has harmed his reputation off-late mostly due to his achieving so much with the Gunners over the early half of the noughties. Spend some wise bucks, & we’ll be back in the reckoning.

    And all you misers, NEVER FORGET: “There is ONE ARSENAL & We Bloody Love It.”

    http://11gunners.com/opinion/a-perfect-exhibition-of-the-elephant-syndrome/3081/

  • CS1

    Morning to everyone, just wanted to say, i love this blog, while every one sees doom and gloom, this bog always look on the bright side of life and thats how it should be, have a good day everyone.

  • Gooneraside

    So that’s settled. Arshavin should have played against Terry’s Assorted in the cup last year but not this.
    But don’t worry. I seem to remember Billy Wright made a similar mistake when he was manager. So history will repeat itself.
    But you’re right, Walter, we have been spoiled during the last few years. Now we expect good football and success. But why should we not get both?
    e.g., Maybe Bouldy can leave the kids for a while and give some defensive lessons? And I do remember earlier this season being mightily enthused when I noticed in one game that TV5 organised the defence somewhat by indicating where players should position themselves. I haven’t seen him do it lately. Does he still do it and I don’t see it? Or has he lost heart? Or been told not to do it?
    Please say it’s not one of those last two reasons.
    Come on, boys, three points on Weds please.

  • Clerkenwell Gooner

    Small quibble – Rupert Murdoch is a US citizen now, not an Australian.

  • Yes and someone last season was saying lets sell Song, what for we have him. Lets sell Song and buy…um… whom ? Probably someone in 2001 would be calling to sell Henry. Someone in Manu was probably saying, so on and on and on, its not Manager Computer Game, its real world, you deal with what you have and what you can find.
    Whom we could buy this January?
    Begovic? James? (I knew those two were on market) Begovic is good but still don’t think he is much better than what we have (if better at all).
    It is not supermarket, you don’t go there and look around shelfs and pick things as you want. What is not offering you cant buy. Ok you can if you are on your knees in front of Abramovich with opened zipper.

  • Duke

    I agree with some of ur point but not all. It quite un4tunate dat we have been building 4 five yrs,after a little improvement we sell our most improved players & replaced them with todlers which rendered us incompetitive. We should stop deceiving ourselves and do away with those incompetent players in d squads & get quality players or else all our best players will leave us in cold without replacement. At d end we keep moving in cycle …

  • ibbs

    SECRET WEAKNESS that only Hiddink knew about???????????????????

    Lets be honest,Arshavin’s only here because his ‘dream club’ BARCA didnt bid for him,the ‘i’m a gooner now’ quote was quite funny.
    Maybe they heard about his previous constant moaning and thinking his bigger than his club.

  • your all drinking the same cool aid. Yes he would walk into a new club.

    But a He wouldnt have anywhere near the power. b would not be given 5 to 6 years to build youth for supposed future success. and c he would be run out of town if he kept doing what hes doing here

  • your all just putting off your mourning period. Hes going and thats the end of it. Im just 2 years ahead of you. Dont live in fear he can and will be replaced. Hiddink anyone. Still maybe if we wait another year he might change his ways. And adjust his continued year in year out mistakes. Not

  • critic

    gallas don’t like to be positioned……he does what he wants….he doesn’t like to take the blame……so he doesn’t guide anyone either

    same can be said for arshavin upfront(for this season)…he is playing for self glory…if not then maybe out of position…but again whose fault is it?

    diaby is beginning to look like a good player but 60k when ur giving accomplished fab 80k is ridiculous……

  • critic

    in the spirit of this blog…

    ARSENAL 10 LIVERPOOL 0……..

    gerrard scoring hatrick of og….hatrick for denilson at half time break…..carragher, insua, reina, benitez all getting red card…..and hence alumunia scores rest of the 4 goals….

    now i think that makes me a true fan of arsenal, and otherS D n G BRIGADE…..

  • Colonel Mustard

    Impatience is the new patience!!! 5 YEARS…. 5 YEARS……oh give me strength

  • Hartwick89

    Simon,

    I liked the pure ability of your writing. I felt at the moment I was reading your piece a sense of comraderie with just “fans of football. There was no blaming or finger pointing or this or that. It was just each individual who dedicated a part of their life at a designated time to just watch and support. The other aspect which I appreciated was your ability to describe what it really takes to blog; in most cases just punch in words and not be accountable for what you say or even care. A good lesson for me! Because after reading the untold for the past few days I have got that knot in my belly again. The knot that brought me closer to Arsenal and further from people who just write without any care of what they write. If I stick around here I think it best I stick to commenting on the piece and not on commenters. By the way I don’t know how you do it…. If my wife supported another football team I would go crazy every Sat.

  • Sanity

    great blog Simon, loved it! to bad the comments arent as smart as your article though 😉
    keep the faith!

  • Karthik

    I am an Arsenal fan, BUT, I am a bigger Arsene Wenger fan, because for me Arsene Wenger is Arsenal.

  • Now see here Critic, writing in is one thing, but stealing the transcript of the discussion between myself and Billy the Dog McGraw about the Liverpool game is not only theft, it is also bloody dangerous.

    Personally, if I were you I would lock the door and hide under the bed. Billy made that 10-0 prediction in good faith, and he does take lightly to others mucking with him.

  • Ryan

    Exactly how long should we be patient for? If 5 years with no huge improvement at all is being impatient then how long must we wait before it’s acceptable to complain? If we don’t start winning things cesc and rvp are unlikely to want to stay and the whole rebuilding process will be MUCH harder if we have to replace the manager, the less good players AND the best players. Wenger has to fix this before everything starts to crumble big time or he must go. Ask yourself how many players we have now could compete for the invincibles team. Cesc rvp and tv could make the bench. Arshavin is Inconsistent and has a bad attitude and the rest of the squad aren’t close

  • n1 gooner

    Tony great blog and keep doing what your doing.
    My pals blog is on the same sort of line…Check it out.

  • dg09

    Simon,

    Top post.

    I would also encourage Tony, Walter and the regulars to have a look at today’s post at 7amkickoff – very amusing.

    http://www.7amkickoff.com/2010/get-your-limited-edition-chipped-title-hopes-pencil-holder-now/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+7amkickoff+%287amkickoff%29

  • finegunner

    we need to support our team..because we cannot turn them down now..gunners till death

  • TrAnE

    Great Article mate!

  • LRV

    Very good reasoning Simon. Darius Stone put Arsenal ‘Supporters’ into two categories – The Arsenal Fans and The Arsenal Customers. And I agree with him.

    Fans of anything will always stick with it. They will encourage, endure, support and boost morale come what may. The stock in trade of a fan is Patience and Ecouragement.

    But as is customary with customers, they want to boss everything and everybody; afteral they say, “The customer is always right”. The Customer used to ‘want it now’. Not anymore. They want it yesterday; now is too late. So, to talk to them about patience is a complete waste of time. They cannot hack it. Their friends are boasting already, so they need someone to pay for them not able to bully their friends.

    We just have to accept, for now, that we are stuck with them. TV money has unfortunately brought these ‘Customers’ into ‘Fandom’; and the Internet and Blogosphere have brought them out of their woodwork. They believe they have something to say, however insensitive and devoid of reasoning. Championship manager has made them ‘iZombie footie Experts’. They believe they know more than everyone else, even though they are in the minority. They believe that supporting a football team is like shopping at a supermarket. You buy and then call the complaints department with endless complaints. It escapes them that they had a choice before buying; examine it and leave it if you don’t want it. No, there is no fun in that. “What’s the complaint department for anyway?” Like politicians, they complain when the opposition wins. “Oh! We have been cheated. They have no right to win.” And when they win? They still complain. “Something has gone wrong! We should have won by more. We are humiliated.”

    Spare me! I can only watch them with sour amusement.

  • Gf60

    Good article Simon. Thanks. It does bring to mind the fact that so many (including some here today) don’t like the thought of saving up for something special. “I want it NOW and here’s the credit card” is I fear, much of the reason that not just football clubs but countries, find themselves in deep dwang.

    Our (AW’s) record over the past 12 years is better than any bar MFU…and look at the position they’re in. Thank you I’ll suffer the occasional hiccup and little in the way of silverware in exchange for a club that will still be there in another 100 years…in the top flight, not administered and/or bankrupt, and, always trying to play football. And I like to think I’m no different from the average fan albeit that there are times I want to lash out at some (weird to my mind) decisions.

  • Richard B

    Speaking of patiently waiting for something to happen – come this summer we will be less than two years away from the UEFA ‘guidelines on debt’ coming into force. Any player moving this summer to a Premiership club will need to make the judgement as to whether he will be joining a club eligible to play in Europe from the middle of his four year contract onwards. Chelsea have already started to prepare by turning all of their debt into equity. Man City have (I think) announced that all of the money they’ve got from their new owners is ‘a gift’ and doesn’t need to be paid back. Both owners therefore face huge personal losses. Clubs heading for self sufficiency? Great businessmen?
    Everyone else will need to prove that their debt is either paid off or entirely manageable. If they can’t (or if they can’t prove that it’s there to fund investment in infrastructure) they will not be permitted to compete in Europe. Income will plummet and ambitious players won’t want to go to those clubs. There is only one club (without a sugar daddy) which is already looking forward to being able to benefit from all this change. The Arsenal Board should take the glory and the man that helped more than any other to help deliver it should take the most. And if regulations against ‘financial doping’ do have all that effect, remember who first called for them.

  • I just analyzed some D&G statements. Its surprising, but I couldn’t find any positive opinion there. I mean, there is no player which is good enough for Arsenal in our squad, of course Wenger is disaster for Arsenal too, and whole team management awful.
    Now there is a question, I would like if someone can give me, than what they support? For what they stand?
    Second thing is from early beginning of season they were talking about team not sufficient to win anything. But than why they are so surprised now as we are “out of race”.

    PS
    Simon I know how you feel, my wife is Feyenoord fan, but its only prove that no one is perfect.

  • critic

    it was just good prediction tony…not stealing…:-p

  • critic

    oh look who’s talking….grr..ard says he wants 3rd place……i consider this insult to injury…..already out of title race(99.764539874%)….now if arsenal doesn’t finish 3rd, it’s going to be an insult from an insolvent team…

  • V

    Tony, Simon, Walter and the Gooners here who take it with a pinch of salt – The heroes of this blog. forgive me if my sentiments replicate what has been said before. I was going to mention this on my own post but it fits in with the theme here.

    Whacky thoughts alert…

    Wenger is a fool for not spending any money especially on a goalkeeper who never makes mistakes ever, a uncompromising centre back that shouts more than tackles, a no nonsense midfielder who will break legs, a speedy winger who can cross, dribble and juggle samurai swords at the same time, a striker who is 10 ft tall elephant but has the technique of Pele. Our squad is just too small (21 different outfield players have started EPL matches). We have no strikers (2 strikers injured, 2 not fully fit). I don’t give a damn if Everton, Fulham, Utd (and possibly Liverpool) have also had their worst season in terms of injuries. He should know that we will have 200 injuries per season and buy replacements accordingly.

    Meanwhile Ferguson is a legend for signing Smalling who isn’t going to feature for Utd this season. But Arsene is an idiot for waiting until the summer to sign Chamakh. Does he not know the table is upside down and we’re really 18th in the table having lost to the 2 teams below us in United and Chelsea? How stubborn. If I want something I can possibly do without I buy it now. I don’t wait till the Christmas sales when I can get it at a much reduced price. Screw it. Put it on my credit card, I’ll even put my house on the line (it isn’t really my house). If it makes me feel good today that’s all I bloody damn care about.

    According to me, since Arsenal were formed we’ve won a trophy every year except since 2005. We’re the most successful club ever. And Arsene is ruining our legacy. Arsene out. Arsenal out. Me also out. (of my head).

    Sarcasm, Hyperbole, Self-deprecation ends there.

  • critic

    @LRV

    yeah…ur absolutely correct…only those are real arsenal fan, who agree with what u think and what u does…..anybody having different opinion is either D n G member or arsenal customer…. moaners,detractors,glory hunters,spuds fan, may be a journalist from SUN,only u r right about arsenal and no other……

    but there’s a small problem, ppl like u are 1 in a 1000,so let’s say if arsenal still go trophyless for, let’s say, 2 more years, 999 ppl will be gone for 1 true fan….let’s assume such ppl are 100 thousand(including full emirates seaters, although stadium will go partial empty by then specially if cl goes, which i strongly believe won’t happen under wenger), that mean arsenal will lose around 999 thousand fan, that is globally, that means globally appeal of arsenal will be gone, that means less fan base…….and may be 1000 of them wud be a potential henry,pires,bergkamp,cesc,van persie…..they won’t be fan of arsenal, and even if they join arsenal they wud use it to move to their favorite club…but most importantly, arsenal will lose it’s global appeal……which is the dream of wenger….

  • tim

    Simon, excellent, well-argued post. I agree with almost all of your points except this:

    “It can’t be because our manager and most of our players are not British, because its 2010. Britain is truly a multi-cultural society, the French own and supply many of our utilities: power, water etc. and there is a great big tube linking us to the continent.

    Most of our hospitals are staffed by immigrants, who also do most of the jobs that are ‘beneath’ us. Our national dish is Chicken Tikka Massalla, most of us drive to the match in cars made by non British companies or watch it on TVs or PCs manufactured abroad. Sky Tv is owned by an Australian, ESPN is American and Setanta is Irish (yes, I still get to see 3pm Saturday kick offs every week on Setanta).”

    What you describe are goods and services, NOT human relationships…It’s a multi-cultural marketplace, but is it necessarily a multi-cultural society? I’ve lived in NY for most of my life — obviously a cosmopolitan city comparable to London that has a very diverse population — and there are still racists and ethno-centrists all over the place.

    But I think this ties into your main point about the anonymity of the blogosphere as the driving force behind these commments. Racism in the modern world is not overt, but always lurking.

    Anyway, WAY off-topic, especially for a football blog. Forgive me.

    In other words, I think Arsene being French has a lot to do with it, as Walter has written about before. Whew.

  • V

    We’re 3rd in the league, some 89 other clubs would kill to be in our position. But the more I hear the negatives and they all say the same sort of stuff like above, the more I believe that we really have something good here.

  • Getty

    Simon, great article. I know some keep pointing out how long should they wait, 5 years, 6 years etc… What are they really waiting for? The very point of Simon’s article is that you support your team because you love the Arsenal. Winning is a bonus, but the main reason is supporting your team through thick and thin. How do the West Ham, Portmouth, and all the other mid-table teams stay supporting their team week in and week out if their expectation is winning only? Losing is not fun and no one wants to come second, but we want someone’s head every time we tie or lose. Yep, I swear at the TV and everyone on it when we concede goals, but don’t feel there were players not fit to wear the shirt or wish the manager be sacked. Everyone has bad day(s) in the office one time or another. Yes, Arsene is the victim of his own success. A little perspective please!

  • sebjob

    agree with 90% of what you say, well said and I share your optimism. It is true the patience is not shared by all, people want fast result on all cost, and maybe it is a societal thing I dont know.
    One minor point I disagree with, Arsenal can hardly been said to run the soccer school with the football club ASEC in Ivory Coast. Wenger have a friendship with Jean-Marc Guillou, who led/ lead the Acedemy of Asec Mimosa and Wenger co-operated with him through Beveren

  • Finsbury

    But Tim, AW isn’t even French, he’s a bleedin’ Hun.
    He even talks like one.

    Oh. Telling all the Real English Lads that their favourite Prof is a ‘Kraut’ is not going to help the situation?

    Maybe not then.

    Seriously: there are obviously a minority of Arsneal fans with an agenda. Well Endowed Gooner and his deliberate misquaoting of AW in the last article is one such example, if it was deliberate. There are others hiding on blogs, or using their own blogs. They have some supporters from outside the club.

    But AFC have had the best representative and welcoming support of almost any club. First London Irish immigrants, then people from other migrant backgrounds. Unlike those pastoral Spuds, AFC is in the heart of the city.

    That’s one reason why Sir Tony keeps this fine blog in good health, and they have to hide to express their cowardly views.

    I’m just waiting to see tomorrows headlines:

    ” Sacrebleau!

    Arsene Weenger is a Godless Communist!

    Exposed: Occult Alchemy and A Catholic/Communist plot exposed in the coal cellars underneath The ‘Occult’ Grove.

  • Finsbury

    The typo in Weegner was deliberate. Honest ‘guv.

    Told you he was a Kraut.

  • LRV

    ‘critic’ or is ‘yeah’ or rather ‘neutral fan’: I really don’t know which to call you since you change your name so much even a Chameleon can’t keep up. I give you one thing though, you are at least consistent with your drollery.

    Just keep on with it. You can make Arsenal better; can’t you?

  • Finsbury

    I think, he’s called H*ward on ACLF.

    It appeared here once before under the hopeful avatar of ‘Barbados’?

    Not a fan of CLR James’ writing on sport, I presume.
    I am.

    ‘Beyond The Boundary.’
    A classic.
    Highly recommended.

    There is a library named after that great West Indian, in Dalston, not far from the home of The Arsenal.

  • chris66

    It’s remarkable how much the discussion around being a “true” Arsenal fan mirrors what is going on what is happening with the far right of the Republican party in the USA. They are trying to have a purity test so that only the true believers can represent them (generally right wing nutters). In fact they have invented a name for every other Republican – RINO – which stands for “Republican In Name Only”.

    It seems to me that if you support Arsenal Football Club first and fore-mostly rather than blind allegiance to the “supreme leader” then you are treated in much the same way as a RINO – only we call them a D&G merchant or customer.

    Hard as it may be for those who only see the world through one dimension, but there is a view somewhere between the contrived “Football 3.0” perspective and the “Bankrupt the club” one. In short this is that we as a club now have the potential to become on of the truly great world clubs, no doubt down to the efforts of Arsene Wenger (but let’s be clear lots of others deserve praise too, such as David Dein and Ken Friar in particular). The question is are we going to be able to make that step up?

    What so often happens in any business is that the people who take a company to the brink of success are not the ones capable of taking it to its full potential – it is often a different skill set. The perfectly valid question for any Arsenal fan to be asking right now is “are the people who are running things capable of taking advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us now?” In my opinion the jury is out but I respect others who think otherwise. It is a healthy debate.

    It seems however that many see the debate through the perspective of:

    – “We shouldn’t expect anything better”
    – “There is no other way than the way we are currently doing things” (There is always another way the question is do we know how to do it”)
    – Nobody else could do the job that the current people do. – This is in some ways the most interesting point. Occasionally it is true (Steve Jobs at Apple for example), but there are other coaches of tremendous skill in the world whose skill set may (repeat I say “may”) be better suited to taking a financially sound club, running it within the means it operates within (especially with competitors struggling) and still produce a fine product and attract the best talent. Rijkaard and Hidiink come to mind.

    From my personal perspective I feel that it should be the role of the Football Manager to drive the team to its maximum potential using every resource along available to him. It is the role of the board and in particular the CEO to ensure the financial longevity and sustainability of the business model. A natural tension should exist between them, it is healthy.

    Over the last 6 years for Arsene Wenger it seems that the lines between the two have become somewhat blurred, probably due to his own intellectual capacities (which are much greater than most football managers) and the vacuum that existed between the departure of Dein and the arrival of Gazidis. It is vital that he gets back to his core skill set of producing dazzlingly exciting and winning teams as he has done in the past. Right now it does not really feel to me that we are really getting there as many of the problems are areas that this coach has proven in the past that he can fix (physicality of the side relative to their competitors, defensive organization, squad depth) but is not doing now, even with resources behind him.

    I reject the label of D&G or customer because I ask this question of the club I love. If Wenger can get back to what he is one of the best in the world at (being a football coach) then long may he continue. If he continues to be a coach/CFO hybrid then I feel that at some stage the most loyal thing to do is put someone in the coaching role who sees their role as only doing that. Given the age of Wenger and the complete absence of any real talent being groomed within the club to ultimately succeed him, even those who justify everything that is going on within the club on business/economic grounds must see the validity in that.

  • george rodger

    someone asked “how many of this team would get into the invincables” ? you could say none.But how many of the current chavski or manure team would?i say deffo. none.Who gave us the invincables?Gus? Murinio? no, it was le god himself.So either he was a very lucky boy or he knows his stuff.PERHAPS HE HAS FORGOTTON WHAT HE KNEW.honestly who are these morons ?

  • AGS

    @Chris66
    Excellent comments and some very good points made. I agree on the AW situation, but I thought that when Ivan Gazidis arrived we would see Arsene return quickly to his core skill set and role. Last summer and the transfer window just past suggests otherwise though.
    I also agree that there are a number of coaches around that could do a great job at Arsenal – I have always rated Frank Rijkaard and people tend to forget that it was not Guardiola who produced the current Barca team, but Rijkaard. He changed the way they played to the current system that is so applauded, and he brought and developed most of the current home grown players into the team and fitted them into the system.
    Maybe Arsene just needs to be reminded that there are others out there, but I still have every confidence that he will take this team to that next level and long may that continue

  • notlager

    chris66,

    you doomers crack me up. This is an internet discussion board ffs. If you’re too sensitive don’t read, don’t write. Some of us choose to support our club in difficult times but you seem to take this as a personal insult. If you think customer is too offensive a term don’t behave like one. No one forces you into buying tickets or watching Arsenal. Your understanding of love needs to be reassessed because it’s not only about demanding instant success, it’s not one-dimensional.
    But being an Arsenal supporter I can assure you you won’t get any death threats for having an opposing opinion or will be sent to go to war. So leave the anologies to someone who knows a little bit about politics and economics, and to those who actually sufferd from censorship and prosecution. Because otherwise you make yourself look quite ignorant in front of 170,000 readers.

  • Chris66

    @notlager

    I am at a loss to see how you could possibly have construed my post in the way you did. The whole point was to point out the diversity of opinions out there that have a great deal of validity, rather than the “le god” concept that dominates this board. If I could quote Michael Palin “He’s not a prophet, he’s just very naughty boy”.

    I am happy to go head to head with you about economics and politics any day of the week, but my post was to try and show that there is a wider range of options than support Wenger or piss off. At some stage he will leave and I can guarantee you that I will still support Arsenal – will you?

  • BOOZY

    MEDIOCRES love mediocrity, when wenger is criticized, its not just for the love of criticism. THE GROWING MEDIOCRE COMMENT BY ARSENAL FANS IS BECOMING VERY DISTURBING. THIS BLOG has come to love mediocrity so much. There is absolutely nothing wrong in winning titles year after year, thats how champions think, not mediocres who settle for fourth place over the years.

    WE SHOULD STOP WRITING ARTICLES THAT BE-LITTLES OUR GREAT CLUB, and start wrinting like champions. you may be contended with fourth or third place, but we are not.

    WHICH IS WHY I STILL BELIEVE WE CAN WIN THIS LEAGUE AND THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, INSTEAD OF SETTLING FOR FOURTH PLACE

  • notlager

    Chris66,

    diversity of opinions? In which way is your opinion different from 90 percent of the newsnow headlines demanding Arsene’s head, reiterating some old rumours about his way of working? You choose to treat Arsenal like a product, some choose to support our club. That’s it.

    And your far right Republican comment clearly shows that you don’t have a clue about free speech. It’s an insult to people who suffered from real censorship and prosecution. This is a football forum ffs. Leave it that way.
    If you’re struggling to find the right football analogy look at what happend to clubs like Leeds or Portsmouth and many more.

    No one is bigger than the club. I know this and the person who is most aware of this is Arsene Wenger. That’s why he has my unconditional support while he is at our club.

  • Hartwick89

    @66,

    I thought you said you gave up on this site long ago? Now you introduce American politics into Arsenal football. What gives anyway? I think To Simon’s point was what? Stop hating the Club you love! Every fact he presents is not disputable but factual… I have a proposition for you write an article that reflects The New Arsenal you would approve of (of course I have no say if it gets approved) let us become You by being critics and let’s see a debate. Again to Simon’s point; it is very easy to blog but it is quite different to actually run an organization like a football club or Arsenal for that matter. If you were honest how much different would it be from how it is currently run or maybe I could be wrong but you do have real actionable legitimate proposals?

  • Anon

    How on earth can someone term Arsenal a mediocre club?
    Boozy, are you dizzy?

    Please go support a different club ’cause you definitely don’t deserve this club.

    @chris66
    Quit quoting Palin on one hand and then deriding everything he stands for on the other.
    You’re all over the place. Daft analogy by the way [football v politics]. If you want to talk football, stick to football. You’ve completely negated the context of the game by comparing it to something so widely off the mark.

  • well-endowed gooner

    I’ve yet to read anyone here address these points:

    1. Our tactical naivety
    2. Our persistence with substandard players (Almunia especially)
    3. Our faulty medical department

    I feel like I’m talking underwater here. I give three points that an anti-Arsenal fan would give, no one has given a response about these things, and yet there are 50 comments supporting the vision of Arsene Wenger, the saintliness of his devoted fans, and the mindlessness of his detractors. No one’s argued why my objections are unjustified.

    Are these things really so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things? I thought addressing these things would be part and parcel of a well-run football club. Or do people really think conceding stupid goals is bad luck and not systemic failure to coach our defence. Do people really think that Almunia isn’t a liability in goal? Do people really think that having 10 players out at a time, for four or five consecutive years, is a sign of good physiological management.

    And no one’s explained to me why Wenger dropping Arshavin for the FA Cup semi-final last year was justified. Walter tried… but he didn’t answer it. Finsbury made some veiled allusion to a misquote, but his didn’t answer it. Do things like this just slip the collective consciousness of the Arsene Knows Brigade?

  • walter

    Well-endowed gooner, there could be dozens of reason for nut starting Arshavin in the Fa cup semi’s last year.
    Arshaving could have been tired, a minor injury, needed a rest, aiming at the CL semifinal.
    Other reasons could be that there has been an argument with : other players, with the coaching staff,
    yet other reasons could be that he didn’t do what he was told to do: on training, in games, by coming late on the meeting point, by drinking wodka in stead of water, maybe some lack of discipline from the players part, etc…

    We just don’t know it as our training ground is as closed as Fort Knox. It could be a combination of those things also.

    And maybe Wenger and Arshavin had agreed that he would be punished for one of those possible reasons and would not start that game and that they had agreed to not go public on this just to cause no further unrest ?

    I don’t know, you don’t know, we don’t know. Your guess is as good as my guess and as long as both keep their lips thight no one will know.
    So we can keep talking all over it untill the end of the century we only can guess. Maybe if Wenger writes his memoires, we will find out.

  • well-endowed gooner

    At the time, I thought Arshavin had to have had a slight injury or was unfit. Both were plausible reasons, and would’ve been accepted as such. There is no plausible reason why Wenger would cover up an Arshavin injury. Wenger doesn’t shy away from talking about players having injuries. He even uses “injury” as a reason to drop a player for discipline or disputes. Half the Arsenal team has an injury at one point or another. It’s not a new thing.

    But Wenger said he did it to prove to his boys that they can win without him. WTF was that about? You can second-guess Wenger all you want, but I’m taking his comment at face value – Wenger wanted HIS players to show their worth so badly that he was willing to put out a weakened side. That’s unforgivable.

  • well-endowed gooner

    And Arshavin was cup-tied for the CL semi-final. That was the reason for it, I remember – there was a big CL semi-final against Man Utd coming up, and there wouldn’t be an Arshavin in that line-up, so Wenger wanted to prove to his players that they could face big opposition (Chelsea in case of Man Utd) without Arshavin.

    And you REALLY think that that’s a good enough reason to drop Arshavin?

  • notlager

    well-endowed,

    it’s a good sensible reason for me. Also Arshavin’s defensive effort has room for improvement to say the least. Just ask some Zenit fans or look at his games for us so far. Remember after Arshavin came on we conceded our second goal. The difference between the FA cup game against Chelsea and the following Liverpool game was the quality of defence of the opposition’s team.

    And please move on. It’s tiring having to talk about an event almost a year ago.

  • AGS

    Re: leaving Arshavin out of the FA cup semi-final.
    Bar maybe one or two players, didn’t Arsene select the same team that nearly did Chelsea in the 2007 Carling Cup final? I personally think this was behind his team selection that day. They were so unlucky in the CC and ran Chelsea ragged most of the game. I think he selected the team he did to let those young players have another crack and to see how far they had developed since that final defeat. Unfortunately, he couldn’t legislate for a goalkeeper that completely lost the plot as is what happened with Fabianski.

  • jazbo

    Carling Cup semi final???, why are you guys draging up that old story, let’s deal with what’s important now!

    With this in mind I’d like to congratulate the team for the defeat of Liverpool yesterday.

    Well done lads!!!

  • anyone see the horror tackle yesterday in the arsenal game? was a shocker lol.. anyways you can watch the liverpool v blackburn game at http://www.watchliverpoolonline.com/2010/02/watch-liverpool-fc-v-blackburn-rovers-online-28-02-2010/