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Disdain is the new football chic

By Tony Attwood

We have had racist and anti-Semitic chanting, the calling of Arsenal fans paedophiles, and the jeering of managers.  Now it is all a bit more chic, a bit more refined, and negativity has turned more into disdain.

Mr Wenger was not booed or jeered this time when Francis Coquelin came on, and the 1-1 result away to Everton looked reasonable – if it were not for the fact we are 7th which is disappointing.  But we are getting the possession – 57% in this game.  In the end it must turn into some victories.  Except that we are now back into the injury run – as one player comes back another goes out.

Rafael Benítez didn’t get booed that much either – or at least not so much as last time round, as he managed to play to 180 minutes without conceding.  And without scoring.  It wasn’t so good all the time as some Chelsea fans started to sing for Roberto Di Matteo.

The manager set up a rigid system that more or less pumped all the creativity out of the team, with everyone standing more or less where they were told to stand for the kick off.   That is called being well-organised.  It has nothing to do with flair or unpredictability or creativity.

It also doesn’t start to deal with the fact that he works for an impatient man, nor does it consider the problem that if the players are told to play this rigidly in the end boring will become their style and approach, just like flair, excitement and the unexpected were the style and approach of players like Henry, Piries and Bergkamp.

Elsewhere Sam the Slug at West Ham failed to say anything else highly embarrassing about the anti-Semitic sentiment of some of the supporters of his club.

Fifpro the players union claims that some clubs are blackmailing players into signing new contracts by just leaving them on the bench for games they should be playing in, until they sign.   It is hard to feel much sympathy though for anyone who earns more in a half a week than I do in a year.

Meanwhile in Birmingham no one knows whether to laugh or cry as a Hong Kong judge granted the club’s owner a postponement, not to a football match but to his trial on money laundering charges, which was due to start on Wednesday.

The district court judge granted a request by Yeung’s lawyer, to adjourn the trial until 29 April.  The case centres around the well-being or otherwise of about £58m.  The lawyer in question is the sixth one that Mr Yeung has used in order to unfreeze his assets so he can pay… his lawyer.

Mr Yeung, a former hairdresser, bought Birmingham City FC in 2009 for £81.5m.  The club is controlled by Birmingham International – and their shares have been suspended from the Hong Kong stock exchange.  BI is trying to sell the club.    Mr Yeung’s only previous experience with football was as chairman of Hong Kong Rangers Football Club for one season.

Which makes it odd as to why anyone believed his promise of millions and millions to be invested in Birmingham City.

So what do we make of all this?

Obviously there is the eternal danger that if the AAA ever were able to push out Mr Wenger, then we could end up with the same sort of football that Chelsea now play.  If they managed to overthrow the ownership of the club and bring in someone with supposedly a lot of money we could end like Leeds (recently just sold again) or Birmingham (see above) or perhaps Rangers of the Scottish Third.

I don’t like being 7th in the league with the Manchester clubs pushing further away from us, but I am also aware that there are situations that could be a hell of a lot worse.  If we want change we should never just push into it, regardless of who we are getting into bed with.

The books…

The sites…

 

16 comments to Disdain is the new football chic

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The only way to get back on the fast tract is for the fans to get behind the manager and players and cheer them on and for the players themselves to knuckle down and do their stuff,and to do it with style .
    The Arsenal teams of old would only pick up steam after the New Year .Provided we don’t stray too far away from the leaders and start picking up points we should have a great tilt in January .
    I noticed that you have taken your usual stance ( aka waving the red cape )of facts, logic and common sense against them who apparently don’t exist ,but still crawl out from time to time from the woodwork to bug us !
    Nice bit about the realty show going on in Hong Kong .Do they feel sad when lawyers are told (in true Donald Trump style),”You’re fired !” .I’ve a feeling that they may well do a Russian version of the same in London , but here using cuddly managers instead !Is that tears in you eyes ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Which leads on to this joke ( stop groaning !).
    A doctor , a lawyer and an accountant were shipwrecked and were in the sea .Soon sharks attacked them and ate the doctor and the accountant ,while the lawyer was spared. Why ?
    Professional courtesy !

  • nicky

    If Brickfields Gunner can do it , so can I…
    An old Army story often related by my cousin Eli, about why women aren’t any good in the Armed Services.
    Women are no good in the RAF because their feet swell up in aeroplanes. On the ground, they hold up the advance by getting their heels caught in the barbed wire. In camp,they demand separate latrines. Their exacting toilet requirements are a nightmare during patrols. The men have to stand around holding their guns while the women wander off to find the right sort of bush, eventually coming back and saying “I couldn’t go: there was a spider there”.

  • rupert cook

    It would have to be a monumental catastrophe to end up like Leeds or Birmingham. As I’ve said before these are small clubs. Some may think Leeds are a big club but they have a tiny fanbase outside of Yorkshire. Has anyone ever seen a person wearing a Leeds shirt outside of the UK, never mind London?

    Wenger will go when he wants I suspect. He maybe sacked if we don’t make the top 6 say, but I find that still fairly unlikely.

  • Matt Clarke

    I only remember Valerie as President of France and the man who married his cousin – I didn’t know that he had anything to do with football.

  • nicky

    @Matt C.,
    Anne. He was born in Germany.

  • Matt Clarke

    @Nicky:
    😉 I am glad someone understands me.

  • Matt Clarke

    And, now less disdainfully,

    Yes Tony,
    I do not like it (being post-Manc) either.
    But I like it a whole lot more (or, dislike it a whole lot less) than those other situations that you describe.

    I suppose it boils down to:

    I am a supporter of Arsenal and I hope that they do well, rather than
    I am a supporter of Arsenal IF they do well.

  • nicky

    @MattC.,
    We were lucky to be brought up via the Goon Show!

  • Tasos

    Esteemed manager of Arsenal Football Club, Arsene Wenger, visited London College of Communication (LCC) yesterday and some lucky students from BA Sports Journalism and FdA Sports Journalism were given the opportunity of asking the Frenchman a few questions.

    Mike Carre, an FdA Sports Journalism student has written this report about the event.

    Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger came to London College of Communication (LCC) on Monday afternoon where he answered questions from LCC Sports Journalism students. Wenger spoke at length about the numerous changes in not only football, but also wider society and the media since he arrived in England in 1996.

    He said owners now invested in clubs for different reasons to before.

    “When I first arrived in England, the clubs were owned by people who were supporters of the club, who were successful in life and bought a club as their dream. Today the Premier League is in the hands of people who invest in the Premier League. They buy a big club and it becomes more of a business model,” he said

    Wenger, a guest of the European School of Communication, who share some LCC facilities, said this has meant more money and more foreign imports, something that he has had to get used to.

    “It has become an international league. Today in every club, you have sometimes between 10 and 20 different nationalities. That means it has created new problems of communication,” he explained.

    He was also keen to point out how the media and the immediacy of the internet have led to a cultural change.

    “We have moved from a society of full support, to a media society and an opinion society. When I arrived here a defeat was not as dramatic as it is today. Why? Because we have moved from a rational society to a much more emotional society.”

    “When you finish a game it is analysed in a minute and the opinions go through the whole of society in 10 minutes. The emotional side of any reaction today is massive,” Wenger described.

    Wenger has to deal with his decisions coming under scrutiny in today’s world of endless blogs, news outlets and streams of analyses. The 63-year-old is of the view that because there are so many opinions swirling around, often the lines become blurred between professional and constructive analysis and that of throwaway comments from those less informed.

    He said: “Our society has changed much deeper than we think it has. Sometimes for good because people are better informed, but as well sometimes for bad because people who really take action, people who have responsibilities are not respected as much as before. When you have an opinion you’re tempted to think you are right, because you do not have to prove you’re right. It’s just an opinion. Today everyone has an opinion and people who have real responsibilities are less respected.”

    But he is very optimistic about the future and a great believer in young people.

    “I promote young people. I believe it is important when you have responsibility and luck in life to influence people’s lives, to be a positive influence on people’s life. You can be the chance for somebody in life. A little boy who grew up in Africa or Asia can dream to one day be a great footballer. If I can be the one who can give him a chance to achieve his dream, I am doing one aspect of my job,” said Wenger.

    He also recognized the pitfalls for youngsters. “A big problem in sport and in the modern game is that you have to learn very early in life to know who is good for you and who is bad for you. If you waste (time) in normal life, you can waste four, five years and still be successful. In football, one year means 10 years in a normal life, because at 30 it’s bye-bye.

    “If you do not understand how to behave before 22 it’s bye-bye, no career. So you have to understand very early, between 18 and 22, to lead a life that allows you to be successful. And that’s the main difficulty. People don’t realise how difficult that is because when your friends go out on a Friday night you have to say I stay at home because it’s more important I have a good game tomorrow.”

    Wenger’s answers show his passion for football, and the game’s soul, which is cruelly abandoned in these times of gross amounts of money. The Frenchman has moulded Arsenal into his club, one that nurtures youth, adheres to his attractive football style and also, importantly, is run properly with money invested and the club avoiding the danger of overspending.

    It is clear he takes great pride in what Arsenal have become during his tenure, and his legacy will live long in North London.

    An economics graduate, he is serious and meticulous about funds, sometimes to his detriment, but his intensions are for the good of the club and will be reaped for years to come.

    “What kind of influence do you give to the structure where you work? I leave to the next manager a good team, a strong financial situation and a club in a very good position to be successful, to give him the chance to do better. The continuation is there and I believe that is part of my job,” Wenger clarified.

    As Wenger finished his speech to the graduating class, he summed himself up rather perfectly,

    “I believe (it was) a famous philosopher who said; nature gives you two eyes – one to judge and one to love. Use both.”

    Indeed, Wenger is judged and scrutinised daily, but through it all, he has revolutionised football in this country and he is revered and loved for installing a style and steel into the beautiful game we’ve never before seen.

    Report by fdA Sports Journalism student Mike Carre

  • Gooner Murphy

    @ Tasos

    Thank you for airing that report/speech it gives us a fantastic insight into Arsene Wenger the person including his football philosophy and shows how lucky Arsenal are to have him.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ Tasos

    Thanks for the share.

    @ Gooner Murphy

    We are lucky to have him indeed.

    Mr Wenger might not have won us trophies lately but what he has done during that period is worth more.

  • Walter

    Indeed thanks Tasos.

  • mark andrews

    Walter,

    They wouldn’t have won it for historical accuracy.

  • rupert cook

    @Tasos, very interesting talk by Wenger. He talks a lot of sense but I do find it odd he is suggesting that clubs have been bought out by those who want to run clubs as a business model. That doesn’t apply to City, Manu or Chelsea. Not sure it does to Spurs or Newcastle. In fact it seems to mainly apply to Arsenal.