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What a difference a year makes or is it what a difference a manager makes?

By Walter Broeckx

I remember from last summer that on more than one occasion I was told  that I was a complete fool. The reason was that I didn’t scream out loud that we should spend the f*cking money and trusted Wenger. And because I had the balls to say at that moment in time: look at United. They haven’t spend anything yet either.

But I was a fool for even daring to say such a thing. Because we finished 16 points behind them in the season before that. So how would we make up such a deficit they threw at my feet. The simple fact that each season each team starts with zero points was somehow lost on them and more insults followed.

In a way and after doing lots of research on referees, looking at the first slip of the tongues of former referees, looking at my experience as a referee, based on the referee reviews and based on information that I heard behind the scenes and could and cannot pass on,  I just knew that Manchester United would have more problems from this season on.  We at Untold said for a while that the combination of Riley-Ferguson- Mister X was a golden combination for Manchester United. Having someone as the head of the referees who can be described as a Manchester United sympathetic person (understatement I know…) and the Ferguson Fear Factor was worth a lot of points each season.

I knew it would change. Referees and former referees admitted their fear, not that much for the environment but for the persons in charge.  So I was confident the gap would get smaller. And I was confident that our players would be better this season and they were. And that was in the pre-Özil days when I was confident about it.

The fact that United won the title in the season before was a kind of farewell gift to Ferguson from the rest of the league. Give him that title and he will be gone.

Now with only one game to go we are 13 points ahead of Manchester United.  And in the case we throw away the game at Norwich in order to save our legs for the cup final they will always be at least 10 points behind us at the end of the season. It also could be 16 points in case they mess up their final game of course.

But even in the for our worst case scenario that would be a swing of minimal 26 points in total compared over one year time. Going from 16 points behind to being 10 or 13  in front.

The departure of Ferguson, the change within the referees who stopped fearing him, and the fact that Ferguson was a good manager anyhow cost them a lot. I must admit I didn’t see them slip that far behind in such a short period of time. I expected us to be better than them this season but not that the margin would be so big.

But this again shows that having a good manager is so important for a club. The fact that Wenger now is the only manager who can say that he has taken his club to 18 consecutive CL places is nothing but amazing. Is it a trophy you ask? Ask that to the fans of United. Or to the Tottenham fans. Or Everton fans. They would have give a few arms and legs to be in our position this season. And the 17 before this one.

It is not a trophy in the form of shining silverware. But if you look at the Emirates stadium THAT is the trophy that has been built by that constant CL qualification. Without that CL money we would never have been able to build it.  I know it has taken a few trophies away  from us in the past seasons. I am completely aware of the fact that the combination of the oiler teams and the cost of building the stadium has cost us titles and cups.

But what Wenger has done and is still doing is making sure that there is a bright future lying ahead of us. A future that I hope will start on may 17. That should be the day that we could write down as the start of a new era of success for this club in the form of silverware.  If we keep the core of this team together and we have done this work already by securing most of our players to long term and improved contracts we will see an even better team next season.

I say this as confident as I said one year ago that our team would be stronger and better than it was the season before. I really believe that we have a group of players capable of winning the league. Maybe one or two additions in combination with a few youngster making it to the first team next season to cover for the injuries we face. I don’t really have high hopes that the referees suddenly will cut out the kicking completely so the injuries will continue I’m afraid.

All we now need is that extra bit of belief from players and more importantly from the supporters. We know we can do it in the FA cup final. Now is the time to step up and do it. The players must do it for themselves in the first place of course. As that is their job. But they must know that they have the chance to be remembered as the first ones to bring the trophy drought to an end. And lead us to more next season.

Let’s just get behind them completely from now till the end of the season in less than 10 days. I know we can do it. Let us show that to the players and give them extra confidence and believe!  Say we can. Just say we can.

The books

 

 

119 comments to What a difference a year makes or is it what a difference a manager makes?

  • Florian

    I say we can:) I wish the team plays their calm and measured game, just avoiding the silly mistakes that hurt us in the past – and what better cure than having done it before, and having learnt from those mistakes?

  • nicky

    Walter,
    One of your gems of a post, not only summing up our achievements beginning with the building of the Emirates, but also qualifying for the CL over the last 18 years.
    And all this under strict financial constraints, coupled with an appalling injury record.
    It’s a chapter in the history of Arsenal FC that many will regard with great pride. 🙂

  • Jax

    Cup final success would at the very least generate the positivity around the club that we had during our golden years of not so long ago really, but there’s going to be a big difference this coming season (compared to last) as we’ll have to replace some (key) departing players as well as strengthening already understrength positions. With the WC ending mid July we’ll have a reasonable amount of time to get players in and tournament players rested before pre season.

  • Elkieno

    We can!!!
    COYG!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Its sad that most of our ‘younglings’ don’t understand the odds that we are faced every season to remain competitive by doing the ‘right thing’. Not for us the cheating nor the devious .But hard work and honest endeavour .
    As for those stupid commentators ,pundits and journos ….well don’t get me started ! Really ! I could go on and on and on…you get the idea.
    It would be nice if people would sit back and take a moment and really think about what this club has achieved against insurmountable odds .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Listen to this.

    http://drbenkim.com/look-up.htm

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Look up – by Gary Turk.

    I have 422 friends yet I am lonely
    I speak to all of them everyday yet none of them really know me
    The problem I have sits in the space in-between
    Looking into their eyes or at a name on a screen

    I took a step back and opened my eyes
    I looked round and realised
    This media we call social is anything but
    when we open our computers and it’s our doors we shut

    All this technology we have it’s just an illusion
    Community, companionship, a sense of inclusion
    When you step away from this device of delusion
    You awaken to see a world of confusion

    A world where we’re slaves to the technology we mastered
    Where information gets sold by some rich, greedy bastard
    A world of self-interest, self-image, self-promotion
    Where we all share our best bits but leave out the emotion

    We’re at our most happy with an experience we share
    But is it the same if no one is there?
    Be there for your friends and they’ll be there too
    But no one will be if a group message will do

    We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation
    We pretend not to notice the social isolation
    We put our words into order till our lives are glistening
    We don’t even know if anyone is listening

    Being alone isn’t the problem let me just emphasise
    If you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise
    You’re being productive and present not reserved and reclused
    You’re being awake and attentive and putting your time to good use

    So when you’re in public and you start to feel alone
    Put your hands behind your head, step away from the phone
    You don’t need to stare at your menu or at your contact list
    Just talk to one another, learn to co-exist

    I can’t stand to hear the silence of a busy commuter train
    When no one wants to talk for the fear of looking insane
    We’re becoming unsocial, it no longer satisfies
    To engage with one another and look into someone’s eyes.

    We’re surrounded by children who since they were born
    Have watched us living like robots and think it’s the norm
    It’s not very likely you’ll make world’s greatest Dad
    If you can’t entertain a child without using an iPad

    When I was a child I’d never be home
    I’d be out with my friends, on our bikes we’d roam
    I’d wear holes in my trainers and graze up my knees
    Or build our own clubhouse high up in the trees

    Now the park is so quiet it gives me a chill
    See no children outside and the swings hanging still
    There’s no skipping, no hopscotch, no church and no steeple
    We’re a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people

    So look up from your phone, shut down the display
    Take in your surroundings, make the most of today
    Just one real connection is all it can take
    To show you the difference that being there can make

    Be there in the moment as she gives you the look
    That you remember forever as when love overtook
    The time she first held your hand or first kissed your lips
    The time you first disagreed but still loved her to bits

    The time you don’t have to tell hundreds of what you’ve just done
    Because you want to share this moment with just this one.
    The time you sell your computer so you can buy a ring
    For the girl of your dreams who is now the real thing

    The time you want to start a family and the moment when
    You first hold your little girl and get to fall in love again
    The time she keeps you up at nights and all you want is rest
    And the time you wipe away the tears as your baby flees the nest

    The time your baby girl returns with a boy for you to hold
    And the time he calls you Grandad and makes you feel real old
    The time you take in all you’ve made when you’re giving life attention
    And how you’re real glad you didn’t waste it by looking down at some invention

    The time you hold your wife’s hand, sit down beside her bed.
    You tell her that you love her, lay a kiss upon her head.
    She then whispers to you quietly as her heart gives a final beat
    That she’s lucky she got stopped by that lost boy in the street

    But none of these times ever happened. You never had any of this
    When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss

    So look up from your phones, shut down those displays
    We have a finite existence, a set number of days
    Don’t waste your life getting caught in the net
    because when the end comes, nothing’s worse than regret

    I am guilty too of being part of this machine
    this digital world we are heard but not seen
    where we type as we talk and read as we chat
    where we spend hours together without making eye-contact

    So don’t give in to a life where you follow the hype
    Give people your love, don’t give them your “like”
    Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined
    Go out into the world, leave distractions behind

    Look up from your phone, shut down the display
    Stop watching this video, live life the real way.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And before someone comments that I’ve gone soft in the head and all too serious, here’s today’s dumb joke !

    Never on a Plane !

    After a month-long holiday in the US , my wife and I finally boarded the
    plane in San Francisco last Sunday heading home.

    As the plane reached cruising speed with the seat belt sign switched off, a
    6 ft 3″ black man with the build of Mike Tyson in the front row got up from
    his seat, turned to face the back, raised his arm and yelled, “HIJACK!”

    Everyone was frozen to the seat, expecting the worst to happen.

    The two Air Marshals were about to jump on the guy and overpower him when
    another voice answered from the back of the plane: “HI JOHN!”

    *The moral of the story is:*

    *If you have a friend named Jack, for heaven’s sake don’t ever greet him on
    the plane.*

  • WalterBroeckx

    I will watch it later Brickfields after I have answered my messages on my phone 😉

    So true that little film.. and we are all guilty of doing it…

  • bjtgooner

    An excellent reflective article. The club as a whole has been very well managed over quite a number of years and we are starting to see the benefit.

    Additionally, our team is one of the best in the league, not quite the finished article, but still a very good team and a lot closer than many realize to being the best even now. Further, we are at the stage where the financial restrictions are lessening.

    The media have tried very hard to denigrate the team that AW has carefully put together – he has done so despite financial restrictions, despite some players being attracted elsewhere by the obscenely rich, despite the onerous presence of the PGMOl and many injuries. Now with one or two careful additions over the summer we could have a truly great team next season. The future is bright, not least because of AW’s continuous and skillful management.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I have already sent it to you by e-mail , Walter ,but was having a problem posting it here ,so I split it into two posts .
    Such a nice message ,and so true . I really don’t have a problem as I don’t have ,nor need ,nor want a ‘smart’ phone, laptop ,ipad ,ipod ,etc as it cramps my style .
    And my style is just chillin’ and doin’ my own thang !

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree with all you say here. As for the Utd refs situation, surely what has happened is grounds for suspicion for a journalist…..or football authorities, themselves corrupt, but who don’t really like English football….to delve a little deeper? This year has been as much an embarrassment for the way the English game is run as it has been for Utd.
    Unfortunately Mr X has not gone away. Seems like the untmost was done to award perhaps English footballs second biggest brand the title this season…who knows, it may still happen. It seems this team have most likely because they could not park the bus in recent games, yes our team can win the league if strengthened, but to do so, we too will have to learn to park the bus in some games….like we do away to German giants.
    City are becoming a huge brand, and may well appeal to the business sensibilities of Mr X, but unfortunately, they failed FFP. Nor do Chelsea have anything like universal appeal and marketability, especially under their snarling vindictive manager, prone to anti football. A new manager could of course change things for Chelsea, as RA realised with pep. With this situation, sadly I predict another Mr X PGMOL push to help Utd back to the top next year, but it will look extremely dodgy and will invite scrutiny, something these guys don’t like

  • Tom

    I don’t know about insults or calling anybody a fool but Man U didn’t spend enough and or wisely and look at them now. They are talking about spending £150M over this Summer to become competitive again.

    Every Arsenal fan , myself included, should write a big thank you card to Ferguson for retiring , otherwise we would be playing Europa league next season and if you think next season will be easier for us , it won’t . With all the financial windfall bestowed on PL clubs , the competition for the top four will be even more fierce . If we don’t spend accordingly , our title challenge will fail to even get off the ground.
    Quite frankly I fail to grasp the point of this article. The first two paragraphs would make perfect sense if we were at least still in the title race and not sweating it out to make CL just a few weeks back.
    Even some Arsenal players have come out and said this has been a disappointing season . Winning the FA cup will go a long way to saving the blushes on players and the manager’s faces but we shouldn’t kid ourselves about how successful this league campaign has been based on how clueless David Moeys and Man U front office have proved themselves to be.
    The only thing more inexplicable than Arsenal getting Kallstrom in January TW while experiencing the worst injury crisis in history and being only one point off the lead, was United paying £5M over the £23M release clause for Fellaini, a player they didn’t need and who was never going to be a good fit for them.
    I’m sorry if I come across as crass or rude (it’s not my intention)but having lived through the propaganda laden years of the communist Poland , I have very little tolerance for it( propaganda that is).

  • andrew

    okay so let me get this straight, you “just knew united will have problems from this season” but you still used them as a reference point when we hadnt spent. why would you make reference to a team you expect to have a bad season as a reason arsenal havent spent when you’re supposedly a gooner? So basically a failing team was your point of reference which lowers your credibility (forgive me if my words sounds harsh). We had to have spent last summer, we supposedly had £70m to spend but the club pulled the wool over our eyes by securing Ozil for 42m. So what happened to the rest the 28m? Couldnt that have secured the top striker we needed? Last summer was an absolute shambles until we got Ozil at the last minute which to be honest wasnt exactly where we needed to strengthen. We were top of the league for more than half of it and bottled it yet we’re somehow supposed to accept 4th place as good enough? lets put things in perspective, we used to be 7 ahead and finished 4th is that the kind of mentality we’re supposed to adhere to at this club? you think we will attract quality players with this mentality? Giroud not so long ago gave an interview where he said the Fa Cup would be a “BONUS”. This is the kind of mentality we have at the club, ib fact he’s our first choice striker and you talk of good times ahead? This same Giroud in the summer we we were all hopeful due to the Gazidis promised influx of money that we were suppused to be title contenders gave an interview saying “the aim is to finish top 4 but due to the changes at the top we may have a chance of challenging”. what this all means is the mentality at the club is not about winning trophies after all Giroud is a key member of the team being our first choce striker who 4 years ago was playing in the french second division. Walter this article is celebrating finishing 4th which is an absolute disgrace because nothing else but winning trophies is celebrated, you’re helping breed a loser’s mentality that is running through the fabric of the club. Celebrating qualifing for a competition we’re never going to win, getting dumbed out at the first knock out round is an indictment to this great club. So walter please come again and i pray it wouldnt be celebrating mediocrity.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tom, talking is cheap of course.
    They can talk about spending it but first of all: will it really be spend and secondly and most importantly is will it be spend wise.

    Spending 100M is easy to do. Ask Tottenham. They spend the whole 100M last summer and they went from 5th to 6th place and got fewer points in the league table.

    For me it is about spending it wise.

    I’m sure you will remember how angry some where when we didn’t go for Fellaini and how angry some where when he went to United and how Wenger his head was called for? The same will now ask for any player to be signed that will go to any of our rivals.

    I will just sit down and relax and wait till the season starts and see what we got. And we already have a pretty good squad right now.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ah look they are at it again. 😉

  • Shard

    Like you Walter (although minus the inside knowledge) I felt that ManU will not receive favours from referees this season and hence they will fall down the order. However, I didn’t expect that big a fall.

    The reason for that is not only Moyes and no referee help, it is because Ferguson was in it for himself ahead of the club. He left them an ageing and average squad, which for at least the previous 4 seasons had been punching above its weight. This was partly down to Ferguson’s ability, but very crucially, also down to the influence of the referees. In the absence of both, the squad is actually achieving around what it should (although the players have conveniently avoided the blame for gutless performances)

    Anyway, ManU will be back, and the referees will be back for them and their brand and all the bandwagon (brandwagon?) supporters. Van Gaal (if it is him) is also a nutjob like Fergson, and is a good manager. With referees’ help, and money at his disposal, he can do a good job there. Especially if they have no Europa League like Liverpool this season. For that reason I hope ManU win and Spurs lose on Sunday.

  • Shard

    “because nothing else but winning trophies is celebrated”

    And that is the kind of nonsense that Arsenal fans have had to put up with for years.

    But guess what, we might win a trophy this season (or might not). Will every one of the unhappy people be celebrating if we do? Not likely. They’ll just find something else to be unhappy about..and they’ll call it ‘ambition’.

    Hunger to improve and being happy with an achievement are not mutually exclusive! Can someone explain that to them please?

    Oh and to qualify for the champions league 17 years in a row IS an achievement, and a massive one, even without considering the stadium built in the time frame. Anyone who argues that it isn’t an achievement is either an idiot or a troll (and they aren’t mutually exclusive either)

  • menace

    @Brickfields thanks for that poem by Gary Turk. It is so close to my life – complete from the boy on the street, the good bye to the Grand dad.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Europa football…maybe Tom, but it is also possible that with Fergie/ Riley in place, Liverpool may have ended up wit six points fewer, which may well have put Liverpool into the Europa rather than us? Pure conjecture of course

  • menace

    I have seen football in many countries over the years and celebrating anything with Arsenal is a joy. The football that Wenger has brought o Arsenal is better than any trophy that exists. It is beautiful passing, ball control, possession football. Trophies come from consistent victories.

    That can only come for Arsenal if the officiating is true to the Laws of The Game. Arsenal have succeeded in spite of the bias and no matter how many of you supporters think that buying players will overcome the shortfall, officiating decides winners. Arsenal need referees in this biased field. Arsenal need to get stronger bigger players to combat the physical abuse suffered under current officials. Wenger has been a breath of fresh air in the EPL. His methods have changed the practice and perception of footballers.

    The jealousy of Wengers phylosophy has not gone as can be witnessed by the attacks on this site.

  • Shaz

    We are thankfully entering a new era of Arsenal FC. With new commerical deals with Puma and the extention with Emirittes starting from next year we will be Financially competitive once again.

    Walter is right, spending monet doesnt guarentee success, history has shown us that. Leeds went down, Dortmund almost went bankrupt after spending big and failing to get success.

    @Andrew- you mention we never needed Ozil, i disagree too often last season we sat in the final third with nobody able to produce that killer pass to see off the game. Not since Fabregas have we had a player who can see what’s happening two moves ahead. we bought a player yet to reach his prime producing more assists than anyone across the top 5 leagues.

    We should have supplimented this with a striker but it wasnt made to be. With Walcott back next season, Ramsey and Jack continuing to improve, we will be better.

    Forget about the top 4, if we can turn narrow draws/losses to wins agains the bottom 15 we will add an extra 10 points or so to our tally. With a striker in the mold of Remy and a young CB, possibly a DM we will continue to improve.

    The future is bright my friends. I also doubt Liverpool will manage to do as well with the additional fixtrures of Liverpool and i think the following season Suarez will go to Madrid.

  • jambug

    You can go on about who we should or shouldn’t of signed last Summer, January, whenever, but the fact is Wenger has assembled a squad that would of been, under normal circumstances, good enough to win the PL. If not win it at least take it to the wire.

    The loss of Theo, Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere, all at the same time, at a vital time of year, as well as Corzolla and Podolski for long periods, cost us the title.

    Nobody in there right mind can deny that. Alas not everyone is in there right mind 🙂

    But the thing is, more often than not, the ones that do, in the very next breath insist the signing of just ONE player in January would of made all the difference.

    So losing 4 is just an excuse.

    Signing 1 would of made all the difference.

  • proudkev

    A very good post.

    I would not swap the stadium and the future we have built for one piece of tin.

    It stuns me that in a world of greed, egos and moral corruption that Arsenal Football Club are denied the credit they deserve. The club and the manager have created a monster through great planning and incredible management. And against all odds.

    I call myself Proud Kev. There should be more Gooners out there, puffing their chests and sticking two fingers up at the media and deniers. They promised us a miracle and that is what we have. Anyone who can be bothered to research and understand what we have built and the problems we faced, will know this.

    The FA Cup Final will announce that we are back. With a couple of clever signings aided by the financial muscle we now have means we can compete with anyone. The media and rival fans should be afraid. Very afraid. We are back for good and one day the club and the manager will get the credit and praise they deserve. Just don’t hold your breath that it will be any time soon, as sorry is the hardest word.

    Kev

  • proudkev

    I just realised on reading my post back, that I appear to have a few song titles in there! Not deliberate!!

  • Tom

    Walter
    Yes, talk is cheap I agree but if all the rumors are true and Lois Van Gaal is to become the next Man U manager as soon as Holland get knocked out of the World Cup,then I’m sure he would’ve received guarantees in his contract to be given certain amount of money( rumored to be well North of £100M) to be spent on players he sees fit.

    He will have had an easier time making those would be signings as well considering there are more players willing to play for a well known manager like Van Gaal as opposed to Moeys.

    Also mentioning Tottenham in the same breath as Man U is elevating them to quite a lofty level. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention 🙂

  • Notoverthehill

    Walter, there are too many internet supporters, who do not understand the English meaning of the word “supporter”!

    The recent article by Drew, on the number of football clubs he has seen in the past year, should have opened a few thousand eyes as to how the small football clubs keep in existence.

    Arsenal Football Club (Claimant)

    and

    Matthew Reed (Defendant)

    Mr A Roughton and Mr Malynicz (instructed by Stunt & Son for the Defendant)

    In the High Court of Justice Chancery Division dated 6th April 2001.

    2. AFC is known not only as “Arsenal” but also by its nickname, “the Gunners”. For a long time it has also been associated with two graphics or logos. The first consists of a shield, referred to as the “Crest Device”, the other, referred to as the “Cannon Device”, depicts an artillery piece.

    The Arsenal won the case.

    Walter, the joke is in “stunt”!

    Brickfields Gunner, I leave the jokes to you.

  • NW

    With that sort of result, its not a particularly good nor bad season.

    In my mind, with the money and squard, the team should be running around 5 to 2 for quite a few years but Arsenal should be taking a cup(except CL) once every two to three years. So in the long run, the team is under delivering.

    When they get FA, they would be putting things just right.

    Again, those were years the team tide their hands on the pitch to pay for the whole stadium and the time is over.

    As a result Arsenal got money to spend. If they don’t there is no point to have this “stadium project” in the first place.

    I agree with spending the $$$ wisely but there are two points

    1) buying payers are investments. There are risks and there will be failures. If you can’t handle the risk then you can’t get a good team. On the other hand….

    Spurs absolutely screw up haha. 100% failure in their investment of 100 million. That is actually quite hard to do. I think their mistake is to buy too many players. Too many changes and the squard can’t be make to work. It would be far better if they buy two or three player but throw in 40 million for a proven one.

    That player might not be a bargain but he would provide some improvement.

    2) Law of diminishing return. Its easier to find bargains at the cheaper end but when you go up the ladder, you pay far more for a little gain in performance. Arsenal carry plenty of 10-20 million players. Any proven quality will come at a high price.

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    Enough already about how the Arsenal blew winning the league by not signing a striker in the January transfer window. I want all those stupid fucking I know more than Wenger assholes to answer one question. Who should have Wenger purchased, Give me names not fictional players. Tell us how buying a player is gonna win us the league. I wanna hear names, Don’t give me Messi, Ronaldo, Costa, and other unrealistic targets. Just tell me who could Arsenal have gotten that was going to win us the title. I will be waiting to see who these so-called experts come up with. If you assholes don’t come up with anyone who was available then just keep your MOTHERFUCKING STUPID PIEHOLES SHUT. Keep your stupid inane nonsense and drivel to yourself and don’t bother us normal Arsenal supporters with your fucking bullshit. Go on the Le Grove website where your stupid fallacies would be more appreciated. We don’t want your groundless propaganda over here.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Waste not….
    The Charitable Husband…

    A wife arriving home from a shopping trip was horrified to find her husband in bed with a lovely young woman.
    She screamed at him: “You’re a pig! A pig with no honor! How dare you do this to me! I’m your faithful wife!”

    She was about to storm off when her husband stopped her with these words: “Wait a minute, let me at least explain what happened!”

    “Fine!” cried the angry wife, “but they will be your last words to me!”

    “Well, while I was driving along the highway, I saw this young girl here, looking tired and haggard. I felt sorry for her, so I brought her home.
    She was hungry, so I made her a meal from the roast beef you thought was too fattening.

    Her sandals were torn so I gave her a pair of good shoes you had discarded because they had gone out of style.

    She was cold, so I gave her the sweater I got you for your birthday that you don’t wear because the colors don’t suit you.

    Her slacks were worn out, so I gave her a pair of yours that you liked before your sister bought the same pair.

    Then, as she was about to leave the house, she turned to me and said pleadingly, “Please, please, is there anything ELSE your wife doesn’t use anymore?”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    From the Medical Division of UA –

    A.A.A.D.D – KNOW THE SYMPTOMS!
    Thank goodness there’s a name for this disorder.

    Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

    This is how it manifests:

    I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

    As I start toward the garage,I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

    I lay my car keys on the table, Put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, And notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first…

    But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

    I take my cheque book off the table, and see that there is only one cheque left. My extra cheques are in my desk in the study,so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Pepsi I’d been drinking.

    I’m going to look for my cheques, but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
    so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. The Pepsi is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

    As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye–they need water. I put the Pepsi on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers.

    I set the glasses back down on the counter ,fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

    I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I’ll be looking for the remote, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

    I pour some water in the flowers,but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
    So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

    Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

    At the end of the day:
    The car isn’t washed,
    The bills aren’t paid,
    There is a warm can of
    Pepsi sitting on the counter,
    The flowers don’t have enough water,
    There is still only 1 cheque in my cheque book,
    I can’t find the remote,
    I can’t find my glasses,
    And I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.
    Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
    I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day,
    And I’m really tired.

    I realize this is a serious problem,and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail….

    Do me a favour. Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don’t remember who I’ve sent it to.

    Don’t laugh — if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming!
    P.S. I don’t remember who sent it to me, so if it was you, I’m sorry

  • AL

    Agree that this Wenger should have signed a top striker in January just gets thrown around with no possible names being mentioned. I can’t think of anyone that was available that would have improved our squad.

    On a different note is anyone else getting tired of hearing about van Gaal, class of 14, Giggs,…. I mean, this is a side who will finish no higher than 7th! There are 6 teams above them to talk about! It’s starting to get nauseating now.

  • Jax

    Bill From Manhattan
    You certainly have a way of getting your points across.
    Are you by any chance a NY police officer?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Jax, no Bill From Manhattan has just watched too many Clint Eastwood films. A double feature of Woody Allen films might unleash his lighter side.

    To answer his expletive ridden post, Berbatov was available and wouldn’t have cost a fortune. Would he have won us the league? Maybe, maybe not. He’s not a bad player, certainly better than Sanogo or Bendtner, and he was used to the EPL and at least he’d be another option.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well Berbatov sure didn’t win Monaco the title…

  • Tom

    Bob from Manhattan

    I don’t know what all those other “stupid fucking know more than Wenger assholes” were asking for in January TW but this particular asshole wasn’t even asking for a striker. Our main Striker wasn’t injured. It was our midfield that was decimated with injuries and that’s where players should’ve been looked at for reinforcements.

    This motherfucking asshole was asking for anybody who could’ve stepped in and given us a lift when we needed it most.

    I could give you at least five names of players who would’ve fit the bill but none of them would’ve come on a free. Players like Ivan Rakitic of Sevilia who is a very good playmaker in the last year of his contract and could’ve been gotten for less than £15M.

    The problem was never player unavailability but rather what to do with them when all Arsenal players became fit again ,so stop your bitching and moaning about how nobody was available. Players are not houses and they don’t have ‘ for sale ‘ signs plastered onto their foreheads.

    Wenger made a conscious decision that he wasn’t gonna spend in January on a player that didn’t fit his LONG TERM plans , win loose or draw and this is something I can certainly understand. And No player , no matter how good , can guarantee the title.

    Sincerely ; Stupid fucking I don’t know more than Wenger asshole, Tom
    P.S.
    If you ever need some Prozac , I can be of assistance ,free of charge as a community service to a fellow gunner.

  • Mike T

    To be fair buying in the January window is always difficult but surely in terms of out and out strikers it was known in the August window that there was an issue and that the fact that Bendner was given a squad place reflected just that.

  • Jax

    Rupert
    Actually I thought Bill was funny. I could imagine coming home from the pub at around eleven and thinking: lets tell those UA M/Fs a thing or two about football. The 7amKickoff blog has some more moderate US Arsenal supporters, but he’s right though, there wasn’t much going in January.

  • Tom

    Bill from Manhattan
    Sorry to have confused your name with Bob.

  • jambug

    BILL FROM MANHATTEN

    Similar to what I at 4:51pm.

    Apparently if Wenger hadn’t dithered about and just signed ONE (unspecified of course) player in January, it would of made all the difference.

    Then in the next breath the very same people dismiss a catastrophic series of injuries to our 2nd,(Theo) 3rd,(Ramsey) 4th,(wlshere) and 5th(Ozil) most important attacking players (as well as Corzola and Podolski) as just an ‘excuse’ and a foreseeable one at that.

    For f**ks sake, even ‘Mystic Meg’ would have trouble foreseeing that little lot !

    AL

    The SUN is at it again this morning.

    On the back page we have a sub-headline stating Van Gaal “I LOVE UNITED”

    Then inside we have a 2 page spread in which Judas proclaims “TRUST ME WE’LL BE BACK”

    The SUN is basically just a Man Utd ‘Fanzine’.

    As I said in a post the other day, that despite both United and Spurs having probably the most embarrassingly bad seasons each has had for many a year, they still get a better ‘press’ than we do.

    As you say AL, nauseating.

  • Mandy Dodd

    off topic, but looks like the PGMOL or moreso Craig Pawson are allowing Hull players to stamp on outstretched legs to ensure they make the final. A taste of what we will face?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2622615/David-Meyler-face-no-action-stamp-Adnan-Januzaj-referee-confirms-saw-incident.html

    is Pawson just a poor ref…or has he been leant on here? Whatever it is, I am embarassed for him…..

  • bjtgooner

    Mandy – the question is – if Hull did not have a cup final against Arsenal – would Meyler have been disciplined?

    He certainly deserves a severe ban as does Pawson/PGMOL. Seems like the ongoing anti Arsenal manipulation by the PGMOL is not over yet!

  • AL

    Berbatov, who left Fulham mired in the relegation battle? I think in terms of goals per game ratio since January Podolski had a better ratio, despite playing much less games. Anyway, I honestly can’t see Wenger signing a 33 yr old. Retaining a 33 yr old makes sense but making one as a new signing beggars belief really.

    Jambug
    Yes, this utd-media love-in came in far too early imo. We’re in for a terrible summer.

    Mandy
    Pawson’s I saw the incident has a similar ring to Webb’s I didn’t see the Balotelli stamp despite being 2m away. Different situations but in both cases not difficult to see the intent on the officials’ part.

  • jambug

    bjtgooner

    Whether it had anything to do with Arsenal or not we will never know (well we do really), there is one thing that is indisputable, and that is a Referee has made yet another laughable decision.

    Yet the next time we hear Riley or Poll on SKY or Talkshite they’ll be telling us how we have the ‘best Referees in the World’ with the talking heads sitting there nodding sagely in agreement.

    Bunch of morally corrupt sycophants.

  • bjtgooner

    @jambug

    “Bunch of morally corrupt sycophants.” 🙂

    But also, are there other varieties of corruption involved – very probably?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Does make you wonder BJT. Not often you see a player get away with that against Utd at OT….how times have changed!
    Does make me wonder about the cup final though – we cannot afford complacency and will need to cope with a physical battle…and a ref who may let things go for them

  • menace

    So we have the sky that can fall on our heads. It chooses our governmants & has done for 40 years. Part of the phone tapping empire. Then we have the pgmol. A bunch of officious cheating selectively blind rodents. The whole mess is overseen by the fa. FA is done about everything.

    What are we expecting at Wembley? I dread to think what might happen. Arsenal will be there playing football and the leg breaking Meyler tackles will be seen and ignored.

    The FA should remove the PGMOL for being incompetent and not fit for purpose. Instead they retain them knowing that they are doing exactly what is necessary for the FA piggy banks to fill.

  • TommieGun

    1. I believe that the “darling” club this year, by far, and it is easily proven by the amount of penalties they received, as well as other decisions, from what I remember, was Liverpool.

    2. It is clear that we got totally fucked by injuries. Theo and Ramsey were disastrous, add to that Ozil and Jack… that’s it. Just look how City looked without Yaya Toure for 10 days – he is ONE player, in a sickeningly rich squad. One player. And we missed 2 of our most influential players, for 50% of the season.

    3. Giroud is class. End of. Just shut the fuck up about it already please.

    4. No striker was available. None. Zero. Nada. Re Barabara Berbatov I saw a crippled snail in my back yard yesterday, I think he could outpace Barbara…

    5. I’m not saying that I understand EVERYTHING that happened – like Kallstrom or not re-signing Bac already… (I really hope we sign him) but relatively, and in a very large scale, it has been a good season considering the disastrous injuries we suffered.

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    Have you been taking English lessons from BILL ? 🙂

    Agree with what you have to say by the way.

  • TommieGun wrote:

    “Giroud is class. End of. Just shut the fuck up about it already please.”

    And I say:

    THANK YOU!!!

  • jambug,

    Doesn’t Bill from Manhattan remind you in a funny way of Flamini?

  • TommieGun

    Well I spent my high school years in New York, so I guess that would be a yes.

    Otherwise I’m offended, compared to Bill I write bloody psalms…

  • jambug

    Bootoomee

    BILL = Vieira ?

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    You’re not BILLS slightly ‘Swatty’ younger Brother are you? !!

    By the way, you’re not a ‘Clash’ fan by any chance are you?

  • Anom

     Speaking recently, Arsène noted that no-one else could match Arsenal’s model of consistency in eighteen consecutive seasons of top four finishes. He should be proud of that to a degree but it asks an awkward question for supporters. What is more impressive, that or United’s record in the same time? Different circumstances of course, building a new stadium is more challenging than lumping another tier on a stand, particularly with the differences in finances and business models. It is highly unlikely that United would be able to finance a new stadium, didn’t if they wanted to. We should be proud of all Arsenal’s history, even if the pre-Wenger era is routinely disparaged. Mixed together, it gives us the Arsenal Football Club we have now; without the past, the present would be different. Without the present, a different future unfurls.

    And whilst the future could be brighter than any expectations, the alternative holds true. Arsenal, you sense, stand on the cusp with the new financial muscle about to be flexed. It isn’t going to be the period of dominance that some have hoped for, that was always a pipe dream but it does require significant and more importantly, continued, investment along with reassessment of the playing squad. The latter is a process carried out anyway, you know it is and to claim otherwise is foolhardy but one where a little less faith and belief in the players from the manager when it is clear that they are under-performing. If that seems harsh, that is the reality that comes with moneys available on a scale not previously seen. It isn’t a demand for spending hundreds of millions in the transfer market but the stark fact that pressures will build as expectations rise. And they will do so as well. With triumphalism heralding the Puma deal and other commercial activities, the fag packet calculations become facts when it comes to spend in the transfer market. Getting the mix right is where managerial judgment comes into play. We can say who and what we like but there is no judgment of that, opinions sway on the lightest of breezes. We know that, it’s the inherent hypocrisy of football supporters. The managers who adapt are the ones who survive and eighteen years does not signal blind stubbornness. It is an evolving plan; whether it can continue to evolve into a third successful cycle, I am entirely unconvinced of that but the board and majority shareholder are, that is all that matters. This is the periphery.

    When Arsène eventually leaves, the likelihood is that Arsenal will become like any other club, unlikely to have a manager in charge beyond a third season. That’s how football is now and to be honest, how it has been since I started a love affair with the game all those decades ago. It is how it will be in the future as well.

     

  • jim

    @amon…Nice post.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug – I don’t know what is “Swatty”. Checking Urban Dictionary [http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Swatty], well it doesnt seem like a big compliment, so I hope you meant something else.

    re the Clash – they are ok but to be honest I’m more of a Pink Floyd person myself. For harder rock I stick to american west coast 90s stuff (alice in chains, soundgarden, pearl jam, etc.)

  • AL

    Mandy,
    I don’t normally pay too much attention to comments on articles on the DM website, but I just went back to try and gauge how others viewed that stamp on Januzaj, and there’s unanimity that this is not acceptable coming from an official who should be protecting players. Some even called for this ref to be punished severely. I share your concerns that whoever told the ref to lie that he saw this incident has some disturbing ulterior motives. We are dealing with the mafia guys.

  • bjtgooner

    @jambug

    Are you sure TommyGun is Bill’s younger brother, it could be the other way round, with TommyGun responsible for Bill’s wide range of colorful metaphors?

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    MOTHERFUCKING DICK-HEADED EXPERTS came up with one name, Berbatov. I think my point is proven beyond any doubt. Are you SHIT FOR BRAINS experts serious.

  • TommieGun

    @ BJT – here’s a colorful metaphor for you, asswipe – suck my balls.

  • bjtgooner

    @TommyGun

    Once again your crudity shows your lack of class.

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    No offence intended.

    To ‘Swat’ is to study. It’s really just a mildly disparaging term to describe someone that studies, probably too much.

    The context I was using it in was to suggest that you where perhaps BILL’s slightly more intellectual younger brother, as your use of profanities was slightly more tasteful.

    It may be colloquial.

    Either way it was only supposed to be a joke. I love people who call a spade a spade, so to speak, and you and Bill certainly do that !

    As for the Clash reference, that was because they had a minor hit early in there career called Tommy Gun. I just wondered if there was a connection.

    Pink Floyd are my favourite band as well.

    First time I saw them live was performing ‘The Wall’ at Earls court, London circa 1980.

    Ticket cost me over £100 from a tout. That was a fortune back then.

    Since then I saw them 3 times during the ‘delicate Sound of Thunder Tour’ back in the 90’s.

    Once at Wembley ‘Arena’. Once at Wembley ‘stadium’. Once at ‘Main road’, Man City’s old Stadium. I’ve seen quite a few concerts and they where probably the best I have ever seen.

    Went to See Roger Waters perform ‘The Wall’ at the ‘New Wembley’ last year and it was absolutely brilliant.

    I’m actually off to see a tribute band called ‘Brit Floyd’ for the 3rd time later this year. They are brilliant.

    Get over here Tommie, there at Brighton in November. You wont regret it 🙂

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug – thanks for the invitation, but England weather in November – I’ll pass…

    As per the “swat” offence – none taken :-D, actually I need to thank you, it’s a great curse word (apparently!) and I’ll use it in the near future, for sure.

    FYI Tommie is my eldest son. He is a gunner like his dad, his grandpa and his younger brother.

  • jambug

    TommieGun.

    Don’t be such a wimp 🙂

    Autumn in the UK can be quite nice…..sometimes. Nicer than May anyway, as it’s Cold, Wet and Windy in London at this very moment.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bill From Manhattan, I think you have anger issues. I’d calm down if I were you, you’ll live longer.

    You wanted an answer and I gave you one. I didn’t say Berbatov is the answer to every problem in the team, I merely suggested a name. The guy is a decent player and with the sort of chances we make he might have made a positive difference. We’re only going to finish a few points behind the league champions, imagine if we’d won a couple more games thanks to some Berbatov goals, would you be shouting abuse then? As it was I heard we were in for Kalou as well as a couple of others on loan but it all fell through. Is Kalou better than Berbatov? I don’t think so.

    I suppose you wanted me to name some high profile strikers. Well I happen to agree with many on here, that such signings in January are rare and usually over priced. I think we only needed someone to help Giroud out and Berbatov at the present time is better than Sanogo or Bendtner.

  • Rupert Cook

    Also Bill remember when Wenger brought Henry back.? He was hardly the player he was five years ago but he happened to score a vital goal that ensured we got fourth.

  • Shard

    Rupert

    Come come.. Henry was streets ahead of Berbatov in their respective primes, and although Berbatov has his strengths, what do you do with a 33 year old who will demand pretty high wages once the season is over? Add him to the ‘deadwood’ that everyone points to as a sign of poor management? Berbatov was never going to be the answer.

    However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anyone we could have bought. There obviously was. It just depends on whether they were available, and what the cost (and subsequent opportunity cost) of getting them would be.

    Water under the bridge now anyway. On the whole I think it’s been a season of progress, even with it’s frustrations, and winning the FA Cup will make that progress tangible and so is important.

    PS. You were right about Bony though. He would have added something to our attack this season. I suppose our sights were set on players like Higuain and Suarez, so I won’t complain about ignoring Bony.

  • menace

    Bony or a player of his ilk would be ideal. We have a lot of under 21s who could have been used as finishers but it was probably not the right thing to do for the player. Why we didn’t put Vermaellen up front for a while puzzles me. He is a natural finisher though he plays in defense.

    Our squad is excellent and our stars brilliant. We need to protect our stars and rotate our squad.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I don’t think Bony could have been sold? As he was just transfered in the summer. I seem to remember that you cannot be in 3 teams within one year? And he played for Vitesse and Swansea so Arsenal would be his 3rd team in one year.

  • jambug

    Rupert Cook

    “I didn’t say Berbatov is the answer to every problem in the team, I merely suggested a name. The guy is a decent player and with the sort of chances we make he might have made a positive difference. We’re only going to finish a few points behind the league champions, imagine if we’d won a couple more games thanks to some Berbatov goals”

    So you intimate that just one player, not only just one player, but one that doesn’t even bother to play on away days, could of won us the title.

    So, by that, I take it you concede that if only we hadn’t had such bad luck with injuries we would of pissed the league.

    I mean if a player such as Berbatov could of made such a difference, just imagine if we had had Theo, Ramsey, Wilshere and Ozil all fit from January.

    So basically our squad was EASILY good enough to win the PL. NOBODY could of foreseen ALL of those players being injured at the same time.

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    Rupert Cook, All I am saying is those so-called experts such as yourself are positive we would have won the title signing a striker in January. You brought up Berbatov as an example. Are you telling me that he would be a good fit for Arsenal. You seriously think if that was the case, An astute football mind like Wenger would not sign him. Fulham got rid of the lazy motherfucker, And they needed goals. What should that tell you. He now has the pace of a three-legged elephant. Do not even mention Henry and Berbatov in the same manner, One was a rising star, and the other a fading has-been. Only one thing derailed our title run and that was injuries to half of the starting lineup at the same time. Nothing more and nothing less. I do have a problem with ASSHOLES who make ridiculous tirades about what is wrong with our club. Yes things aren’t perfect, But the sky is not falling down either. I have read your comments lo these many years and they are mostly negative. You love to post when things are not going Arsenal’s way, Not so much when we go on a unbeaten run. You and the other so -called experts have a sanctimonious attitude on how Arsenal should be run. You motherfuckers at times annoy the shit out of me, That’s when I go a bit bonkers on you and your cohorts. Leave the managing of the Arsenal to the experts and you motherfucking assholes do what you do best, Which I don’t know what that is. I do know this, It’s not running a top flight football club. You are correct in one thing, Been to anger management, Not quite sure if it is working. Should have seen me in my younger years. Just try to enjoy what the Arsenal has accomplished and you and the other motherfucking idiot asshole morons shut the fuck up and leave the running of our club to Arsene Wenger.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think Wenger did try in Jan, the aforementioned Kalou….and possibly a loan of Morata as well.
    If kalou ever wears the shirt, I will back him, but so far he has not been the most prolific, we can maybe do better long term?
    Wenger clearly has quite a small list of,targets, hard to get in Jan….and then if he misses out on them, like it looks like he did for whatever reason with mata , hazard…..and at the time Santi..all I think.during the summer of Cesc, he has problems.
    Wenger has to either find a way of reducing the injuries, or if outside his control, increasing squad depth with players he trusts to rotate, that is one of the lessons of a season of overall improvement, possible silverware, but a few despairing lows.
    Let’s see what the summer brings, hopefully an increased contract for Kos ,Poldi, OG as well as strengthening where needed

  • Tom

    Bill from Manhattan

    “Been to anger management, Not quite sure if it is working. Should have seen me in my younger years. Just try to enjoy what the Arsenal has accomplished and you and the other motherfucking idiot asshole morons shut the fuck up and leave the running of our club to Arsene Wenger.”

    I’d say it’s working 🙂

  • bjtgooner

    In January Wenger was looking for a short term back up for Giroud. Kalou wanted a permanent transfer, not a loan, hence no deal. A more major target was not available in January.

    As for Bendtner, Wenger was going to sell or loan him out last Sept and only kept him after Chelski reneged on the Ba loan.

    Now the situation should be different to January, while never certain, there is a much greater chance of signing a class player – provided the newly rich clubs do not gazump us.

  • Shard

    I know the press aren’t to be believed, but if I recall correctly, somebody at Schalke was quoted as saying that Arsenal made a ‘substantial’ offer for Draxler in January, but that they wanted the full 37m of the release clause. Surely that shows that Wenger tried to sign a player he believed could make a difference, and crucially, not be a liability in the longer term. He also is reported to have tried for a few loan deals.

    Maybe some feel that Wenger should just pay what the selling club asks, and while I can sympathise with that point of view to some extent, I don’t agree with it. Not as a policy at least.

    Walter, I wasn’t talking about signing Bony in January. Rupert was touting him before the season started, and I was sceptical about how good he was. He’s not great, but yes, he would have been better than Bendtner. Still, like I said, it seems like we’re looking to sign better players than that.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Getting very sweaty on here! A bit like our fans who managed to stop BT doing post match interviews around fans. Think they were only singing in praise of our large German!
    http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2014-05-06/bt-sport-abandons-post-match-interviews-outside-football-grounds-due-to-swearing-risk

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sweaty……meant to say sweary ! My ipad does not recognise that word first off…..maybe because it does not exist….

  • Tom

    Shard

    “Maybe some feel that Wenger should just pay what the selling club asks, and while I can sympathise with that point of view to some extent, I don’t agree with it. Not as a policy at least.”

    I think that should be determined on case by case basis. From what I have seen of Drexler , I can’t say I blame Wenger for not meeting his £37M release clause if that was indeed the number. On the other hand if Drexler is such a talented prospect everybody seems to think , maybe paying a full price would’ve been a risk worth taking.

    I don’t think anyone can deny Wenger has been very successful in turning profit in the transfer market and unearthing some major talents in the process but the list of “expensive misses” has grown longer over the years as well.
    Players like Drogba, Ibrahimovic ,Ronaldo, Yaya Toure, Bale, Modric, Suarez, Hazard are just some of the names Arsen had admitted to being interested in before they exploded on the international footballing scene but decided against for one reason or another.

    Some have said that Arsenal’s scouting network needs a major overhaul but judging by the names on that list ,I’d say there’s not much wrong with scouting but maybe rather with the decision making.

  • bjtgooner

    @Tom

    Recent admissions from AW indicate Hazard was gazumped by Chelski – they offered money at a level Arsenal could not match.

    I can’t give details on all the others, I think there were work permit problems re Yaya and suspect the Drogba situation was fairly similar to that of Hazard.

  • Shard

    Tom

    I don’t think you can call it a problem with decision making either. As you said, a transfer has to be decided on a case to case basis. Each of those transfers had specific circumstances around them, and so just because a player turns out to be great elsewhere doesn’t mean we were wrong to pass over (if we even had a choice)

    For instance, Wenger said he did not buy Makelele when he had the chance (even said he regretted it if I recall), but that was because we had Vieira. With Petit and Gilberto as his midfield partners, can you really say that was a miss? Perhaps, who knows, it might have been even better. Or worse? Judging decisions in hindsight often obscures the factors that go into making a decision at the time.

    Of the players that you mention, I’m not sure I’d put the blame on Arsenal for a single one.

    At the end of the day, these are all judgment calls. It is extremely hard to judge their validity when you have even less facts than the person making them did. Especially when time has changed the way you view things (even if it arms you with some more facts)

    Whatever be the merits of a single decision, we are therefore left to judge only the larger picture. And although you might say that suggests we can do better (that is always the case), I think Arsenal have done very well indeed when the larger picture is considered.

    Lastly, any club would have scouted and considered hundreds of players, some of whom would have gone on to become great players elsewhere. It is not a situation unique to Arsenal by any means. We only think of Arsenal as missing out on targets but consider that ManU, despite all the trophies and more money than us, have not been able to sign the players they want for more than a few years now. Lucas Moura, Wesley Sneijder, Ander Herrera, and quite a few more. They also let Paul Pogba leave on a free. It happens.

  • Shard

    bjtgooner

    Actually the Hazard ‘reveal’ isn’t recent. I am 100% certain I saw Wenger say that Arsenal had matched the 32m pound release clause but could not match Chelsea’s offer, in some press conference about a year ago. I don’t know why it’s treated as news when it resurfaces in a comment. They did the same with the Ronaldo comments. All it does is give the Le Grovers a chance to moan anew about how Wenger ‘brags’ about almost signing someone.

  • bjtgooner

    @Shard

    Thanks for the update, I must have missed the initial press release.

  • Shard

    bjtgooner

    I think Wenger’s words were something along the lines of ‘with Hazard, everyone, including us, was at the same level (of bid) because there was a release clause. After that it came down to the player to choose his club.

    I think this was around when the Gotze to Arsenal rumours were at their peak.

  • Shard

    And you are correct about Yaya Toure having work permit issues. Ronaldo’s club had a partnership agreement in place with ManU, Ibrahimovic refused a trial, Bale was a young left back when we had Cole and Clichy there, and Drogba just was not the sort of player you paid 20m+ pounds for back then. He was just a battering ram when Chelsea bought him. The player we remember him as now wasn’t what we were buying. As I said, 20m+..Just not going to happen.

    There was another player that Chelsea bought for 20m+ then, who we were also interested in. Shawn Wright-Phillips. Again, a player that no one would pay that much for back then.. Except Chelsea, because they were like the internet meme saying ‘BUY ALL THE PLAYERS!’

  • Shard

    Reminiscing.. I think there was also a rumour back then that we were going to sign John Terry before Abramovic showed up with his millions..

    I don’t care what anyone thinks of his abilities, but I am ever so glad that didn’t happen. Yuck!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    A lot of names there. Yes wenger got some wrong, though the likes of Ronaldo were apparently a done deal until fergie stepped in. Ibrahimovic deemed himself above having to do a trial…..at eighteen, but if took him a while to deal lop into the player he became. Wenger rejected drogba when he was a hundred grand prospect…yes ultimately he got that one wrong, as he did with Yaya toure and I am sure others. As has every manager. Some of the players we have got wrong have been frustrating, if you take the situation at face value. But what about the ones he got right…..and you don’t need me to list em

  • bjtgooner

    @Shard

    The recent stories about Hazard indicated that the transfer had advanced sufficiently for AW to meet with Hazard’s agent, then Chelski turned up – (or possibly the agent approached Chelski) – either way we were gazumped.

    Agree with you about Terry – Double Yuck!

  • Shard

    bjtgooner

    Come to think about it, wasn’t that what happened with Mata as well?

    It just occurred to me that Chelsea have been doing this for years. They don’t buy just what they need. They buy to prevent other clubs from buying the players they want.

    I mean I always thought of us being ‘gazumped’ when it came to Mata or Hazard, but never thought of it the way that I thought of Chelsea signing Willian (Spurs) and Salah (Liverpool) This was after they realised that Liverpool are rivals to them, prior to which they sold them Sturridge and loaned them Moses.

    ALong with the loan of Lukaku to Everton, Chelsea are manipulating the league to their ends. It is of course within the rules, but only because the rules were not made to anticipate such a level of manipulation.

    So Chelsea and ManCity have not only used their wealth to strengthen themseves, they have used it to directly or indirectly weaken Arsenal as well (we were vulnerable) Makes you wonder how Liverpool will fare now that they are a recognised threat.

  • bjtgooner

    @Shard

    Well put. I agree completely. Further, the Chelski response to our signing Ozil was to renege on the loan for Ba.

    I am trying to remember if Chelski gazumped any Manure targets in the Red Nose years – none come to mind, but I am happy to be corrected on that. If I am right, was there a hidden agreement or understanding or perhaps a “gentleman’s agreement”, not that any gentlemen were involved!

    But you are correct, Chelski have playing dirty in the transfer market for years. Just one more factor for AW to contend with.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Correct shard, first one I remember was Scott Parker, Charlton, believe it or not were threatening Chelsea’s top four place at the time, so mid season, they bought Parker, charltons best player for about ten million, with good effect, derailed their season. Think Parker spent most of his Chelsea career as a fringe player. Hope arsenal use this sort of knowledge to deflect teams,from true targets.

  • bjtgooner

    While Chelski are totally guilty in manipulating transfers we should not forget the role a number of the agents have played in this – following the money as any parasite does. Again there is the possibility of strange hidden arrangements.

  • Pat

    @Bill from Manhattan at 8.01 p.m.

    I enjoyed that!

  • jambug

    Tom

    The Oilers spend more and more money, without any limits. In other words up until they get what they want.

    How can you out bid an unlimited budget?

    They pay bigger and bigger transfer fees and even bigger and bigger wages.

    Over that same period Wenger misses out on more and more targets.

    Come on Tom, it’s not Rocket science.

    If a billionaire moved in next to you Tom, would you expect to keep up with them?

    But this is the point. In your heart you know that, and you know damn well that ALL managers will of missed out on targets, the same as Wenger has.

    Some will be because of misjudgement, that is called being human. Some will be circumstantial, that’s just life I’m afraid. But a great deal, probably the majority, will be down to money, for the reasons I said above.

    You know all this as well as I do, and yet you still post your list on here to use as some kind of stick to bash Wenger with.

    What I don’t understand Tom is why you scrape the barrel like this just to score cheap points in your attempt to discredit Wenger?

    I know you love Arsenal but sometimes you allow your hatred of Wenger to come through as somewhat obsessional.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, I wasn’t suggesting signing Berbatov for more than six months but that is of course subject to what the player wants. I’m not suggesting Berbatov is better than Henry, I’m merely saying that he might have scored the odd goal or two that could have got us further up the league. He’s no worse than any other striker at Arsenal with the exception of Giroud.

    I hope you’re not suggesting there were other players out there, you’ll get Bill from Manhattan yelling at you.

    Yes. I rather like Bony, maybe we’ll buy him in summer, I’m sure we’ve been linked to him alread

  • Mike T

    bjtGooner

    You are right about our response to you signing Ozil but what was Arsenals response to that. Did they
    a) Show they were above that sort of approach and sell Bedner to Palace as agreed
    or
    b) pull out of the deal?

  • Mike T,

    I cannot see the logic in your accusation of tit-for-tat on the part of Arsenal.

    We were going to sell Bendtner because we thought we would get Ba on loan. Your club, out of spite, decided not to loan the guy and a reasonable and practical decision was made to not sell Bendtner anymore. I don’t think think reasonable Palace fans have any problem with Arsenal’s action based our circumstances.

    What is wrong with Arsenal’s action in light of the chain of events and how does it equate to what your club did?

  • bjtgooner

    @Mike T

    Your 10.05 am post seems a bit sour and unnecessary.

    My comment about Ba was part of a debate in which we noted the manipulation of the transfer market by Chelski – within the rules; but stretching morality beyond the reasonable.

    Your attempt to show Arsenal in the same light is one of your more pathetic efforts.

  • menace

    @bjtgooner Mikel was a Man U player when Chelski gazumped him. Strangely the 3 club rule wasn’t quoted then. Chelski had taken a CEO/PR bod from United who spilled the targets so Chelski bought a few additional players.

    It was the way Liverpool did business pre EPL when the Moores/Littlewoods cash was funding them. The purchase of Barnes & Beardsley come to mind.

  • Mike T

    The point that I was trying to make is that all clubs look at their own interests . Your loyalty to Arsenal tends to stretch so far as to never be prepared to accept that their actions , behaviours approach (like you say about Chelsea) are within the rules but none the less, rightly, put the interests of Arsenal above all considerations

  • bjtgooner

    @Mike T

    Yes all clubs look after their own interests, indeed they have a duty to do so. However, the manner in which Chelski have done so has been at times despicable. In my view it was inappropriate of you to try to defend Chelski by equating their behavior with that of Arsenal.

    It is also inappropriate of you as a supporter of a market distorting and transfer gazumping club to make a comment suggesting my support of Arsenal not allowing me to be objective about their actions. You are on sticky ground there – plank in your eye?

  • Mike T

    BJT

    Defend Chelsea in the Ba saga? Where do I do that?

    Transfer Gazumping and market distorting oh what lovely words .
    Which players have we purchased after transfer fees have been agreed with other clubs? Don’t say Hazard because Arsenal wouldn’t/couldn’t pay the the £32 million release clause in his contract at Lille. It was the same with Mata you were trying to get both of them cheaper than their respective clubs valued the players at and when another club comes in and does agree to pay what the seller is demanding you call foul.
    As for market distortion bearing in mind Chelsea have only ever once paid the record transfer fee (Arsenal 4 times) what do you actual mean by market distortion?

  • bjtgooner

    @Mike T

    I suspect you are embarking on a mission of cyclic debate – the questions you now ask have been largely pre-answered above.

  • Mike T

    bjtgooner

    There were some incorrect statements above (such as the statement that Arsenal met Hazards buy out clause) but ok if you dont want to debate

    As an aside I do agree 100% about the FA not charging the Hull player.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bill From Manhattan, I have never suggested we’d win the title if we’d have signed a striker, I said we may have done. Perhaps you should read what I write before spitting bile but maybe some of it gets in your eyes and obscures your vision. Again when Henry returned to Arsenal he was not a rising star, he was a footballer entering the final stages of his career. It appears again you haven’t read my post. I’m not comparing Berbatov to Henry I’m saying I think he’s better than Sanogo and Bendtner, simply because both of those players seemed to have been injured when we could have done with back up and one extra striker is better than none.

    Berbatov may well have flopped but he strikes me as the sort of player that would not be so disinterested playing for a club with the league title in their sights rather than no hopers like Fulham. And surely under Wenger’s expert tutelage he’d have been made to be useful.

    Also I never claimed to be an expert, I just have opinions. You seem to think that nobody can comment on Wenger’s performance because they have never been football managers. Football isn’t rocket science, you don’t need some footballer’s maanger’s degree to comment on the team’s performance. I assume you don’t vote because obviously you’ve never been president so you can’t have a valid opinion on how your country’s run. Wilko Johnson, the great Dr.Feelgood guitarist was given a few months to live by one doctor and now it seems another one says he’s ok, so yes let’s all trust experts shall we, because they’re never wrong.

    @jambug did I ever suggest losing those players didn’t impact on us? No, I didn’t. Would we have won the league with them playing every game? Quite possibly. Though I’m not sure we still wouldn’t have lost to Chelsea and Liverpool but we might have finished off Swansea and Manu at home adding four more points to our present total. We might even have beaten City at home too. But as always there’s an army of ifs and maybes.

  • finsbury

    The AAA were screeching aloud their opinion on how good a job Levy was doing at Tottenham on the 31st August 2013. Whilst Arsenal were dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the Özil contract, drinking tea with their colleagues from Madrid and laughing at Tottenham, whilst the Groaners groaned about how well Tottenham had done. In order to express this opinion one had to have made the choice to ignore the previous record of Levy, which is appalling.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27340728

    It must take real effort to express such an ill informed or disingenuous “opinion” of hate towards your own club whilst praising the idiotic and or incompetent (at best) director of a rival club.

  • Jax

    finsbury
    I have to put my hand up & admit to being one of those complimenting Levy on the quick business last summer. I even suggested we should swap our CEOs with Spurs. So I got hat wrong.

  • finsbury

    Jax
    Levy’s previous record was a bit of a giveaway! Look at the link above on Sherwood. I’m embarrassed and I’m not a Tottenham fan.

  • finsbury

    “Tim Sherwood’s a Gooner…”

  • Jax

    finsbury

    Should be…. Tim Sherwood’s a gonner

  • finsbury

    And Levy? Someone (aside from the reliable and consistent AAA drones) obviously thinks he’s been doing a good job all these years. The mind boggles.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sherwood statistically has not done a bad job….in complete contrast to that buffoon levy and baldini , his director of wasting money.
    When is that stadium getting built again?
    Gooner Sherwood must stay

  • Brickfields Gunners

    AAAA Opinion suggestion …

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202943526933054326/

  • Tom

    Jambug

    “What I don’t understand Tom is why you scrape the barrel like this just to score cheap points in your attempt to discredit Wenger?

    I know you love Arsenal but sometimes you allow your hatred of Wenger to come through as somewhat obsessional.”

    I only just now respond to your post because in all honesty I didn’t originally read it in its entirety . Out of the names I mentioned only Hazard can be though of as a target missed due to Chelsea being able to pay more (wages)and as far as calling it “scraping the barrel” – you must be kidding!
    That’s a list of top World class players Arsenal had missed out on.

    If I was “scraping the barrel” , as you put it, I would’ve mentioned players like Mata, Makalele, Van Nistelrooy and others.

    All the players on my list Arsen Wenger had admitted to monitiring for years before they were sold to competitors.

    You can disagree with me that there’s a problem with Arsen Wenger’s decision making process and that’s fine but accusing me of “hatred towards Wenger” is just childish . Grow up!

    Bale and Modric could’ve been bought for under £10M each when Wenger was evaluating them. Ibrahimovic refused a try out at eighteen ,Ronaldo could’ve been had with a bit more effort. It would meant breaking Arsenal’s transfer record at £15M or so but his wages would’ve been low enough to make it worth while. Drogba was never highly rated by Wenger and was available for as low as £100K and Yaya Toure , well , he’s is another one Wenger never rated .

    So if you are going to tell me that every manager misses some , fine , we can have that debate but when you say Arsenal missed out on all those players due to financial constrains , then you just deny the facts because they are inconvenient and take you out of your comfort zone.

    Someone on here once said we won’t know all the facts of would be transfers until Arsen writes a tell all book. I remember thinking to myself how naive that poster was. Even people with the highest level of integrity like Wenger , sometimes remember things in the most convenient way to them. Case in point – Yaya Toure who did indeed have an agreement with Arsenal but due to passport and permit issues went to play in Ukraine.
    Wenger said that was the reason he never signed him but I always wondered why he didn’t get Toure a year later for under £2M or two years later for under £5M( Yaya’s next two transfers) It was only after Yaya himself revealed the details of his dealings with Wenger when it became obvious why. Toure wanted to play as a box to box midfielder and Wenger saw him more as a striker.
    Yaya said ” I can be better than Veira” to which Wenger replied with a smile; ” no one can be better than Veira ” and that was that.

    Failure to get Drogba , Ronaldo and Yaya Toure was and continues to be a major reason for Arsenal trophy drought which ,finger crossed ,will end this May.

  • Tom

    “As for market distortion bearing in mind Chelsea have only ever once paid the record transfer fee (Arsenal 4 times) what do you actual mean by market distortion?”

    Schevchenko? Torres?

  • Tom

    Mike T
    Didn’t Chelsea break the EPL transfer record with Shevchenko and Torres?

  • Mike T

    Tom

    Yes they did. Although only the Shevchenko was a world record and then it was only the record for a short while.

    It gets really quite interesting when you look at transfer fees paid.

    Its easy to point a finger at Chelsea for distorting the transfer arket but the whole market had shifted way before RA turned up at Chelsea.
    For me the real shift in the transfer market, in respect of English Clubs was in 2001/2.
    Out of nowhere Man Utd paid £38 million for Veron. Up till that point no transfers had gone above about £20 million. Vernon’s transfer was quickly followed by £25 million paid by Van Nistleroy.
    Bear in mind in 2001/2 Man Utd turnover not profit ) was £117 million
    So that one transfer (Veron) alone accounted for about 35% of their totals years turnover

    What was key was the fact that that was the year that TV revenues jumped from about £167 million per season to about £460 million. Now we are at about £1.6 billion a season.