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When the wheels fall off the bus

By Tony Attwood

One of the most amazing things this season is to see how quickly fans of various clubs can turn on their club’s management.  That is interesting in itself, but there is more.  For I have had confirmed something I have suspected for a long time: that bad news draws fans to blogs in far bigger numbers that good news.

I suppose that is why so many blogs focus on the bad – it brings in the audience and so hopefully gets them up the rankings and with more clicks on the adverts.

And it is something that has always driven the British press – good news is not news – only disaster, tragedy and failure is worth running.  It is a view that seems to define us as a nation.

I thought of all this on hearing the commentaries of Liverpool supporters on various radio stations and in blogs, and in hearing the news from a colleague who works in the media and who have access to all this sort of thing, that the number of hits that the main news accumulation site for Man U news gets, is up 700% on this time last year.

It is as if the activities of the AAA, instead of being seen as a dire warning – a way to make your club worse and worse – has been seen not as a warning but as a blueprint for success!!!

There can’t be any doubt that one way to bring your club down is through remorseless attacks in blogs and the media.  It has been going on at Arsenal for about eight years, as it happened in the the 1950s and in the 1930s. and nothing positive has come out of these attacks, at all.  Now it seems Liverpool and Man U are getting a load of it.

Of course it is not just the fans and the results – for both can win games and do ok – it is not all doom and gloom.  No, part of the problem is the way the management of certain clubs react to the situation.

Liverpool, for example, must always have known that dealing with Suarez was going to bring a certain instability, even if it brought a profit.  Now the manager has not particularly done himself many favours by saying that his replacement – Mario Balotelli – was the “last viable option”.

You might recall that Untold took the line all the way through the summer that there was no way Arsenal were going to sign Mr B, first because he wasn’t that good and second because he was not of the right emotional style for Mr Wenger.

Now with the mighty Basel laying Liverpool low the manager has started to criticise his own player.  The Liverpool managers (B Rodgers) is now also backtracking saying, “I always said it was about availability and affordability of players,  Mario was the one right at the very end who was available for that. I said when he came in that it was a calculated risk and it’s something I have to work on to try to make it work for the team.”

Well, up to a point.  All transfers are risks, and you can only sign players who are available.  That has been a prime argument against the AAA – they say, “why didn’t we sign x?” and Untold endlessly answers, “just because x is said to be available in the press doesn’t mean x is actually available.”  Not indeed available to us.  There are signs from within that some players actually note what the fans are like, and decide where they are gong accordingly.

But then Mr R said, “We had attempts for other strikers that didn’t materialise for one reason or another.”   Now that is not so good for a personality as fragile as that of Mario, in my view.  Players often need mental help and support as much as they need physical training.  It is as true in football as it is in the arts.   Working in an office or on a building site you can have an off day and get by.  Playing centre forward in the Premier League or Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare and off days get noticed.
.
I obviously didn’t see the Liverpool game in midweek, being otherwise engaged at the time, but I am told Balotelli did not have a touch in the Basel penalty area.   It is also Liverpool’s fourth defeat in nine.
But part of the problem with the Rodgerian explanation is that the departure of their previous centre forward to Barce was not a sudden surprise.  They knew he wanted out, and they know when the biting incident arose at the world cup that the departure would be inevitable.  They also knew that Barce were ready to spend everything and more irrespective of FFP in order to build a team before they lost the next appeal over child trafficking and so faced the ban.

While some Arsenal fans fretted about who we didn’t get, Liverpool fans started doing the same.   Alexis Sánchez came to us, Loïc Rémy went to Chelsea and Divock Origi is back on loan at Lille.

In my view Mr Rodgers also made a mistake with the “let’s blame everyone else” tactic.   The current blaming is on England’s training routines (apparently they caused Daniel Sturridge’s injury) although the comments do seem to have ensured that Hodgson has left out Sturridge for the game against the might San Marino.

Hodgson has also had a bash at Rodgers saying, “If I am under pressure to give each player two days off between games we won’t train at all. If every time we give two days off, we will be down to 20 days’ training in the course of the next year and a half. For me that is unacceptable. We need to work with the players.”

It’s a spat, but a significant spat for all that.

Under Fifa rules once a player plays for his club – even for just a minute as a sub he is deemed fit to play for his country.  And of course until this point Liverpool have been talking up their credentials in having several players playing for England.

So how has it all fallen apart for Liverpool as some “fans” of the club have suggested?

The biggest problem is that Rodgers talks a lot.  He said, when it was clear that Suarez was going, that he would buy one or two very top players, not half a dozen mid-range players.  Now he talks of buying the only guy available.

And also Liverpool did come close last season, that was because of the attack – the defence was ok, as long as Liverpool attacked and attacked, as they did against us at Anfield.  They can’t do that now.

And of course there is the injury to Daniel Sturridge, plus as we all observed before, Gerrard is getting older.

And it is interesting that while Mr Wenger never speaks of the urgent need to get players back from injury, Rodgers does that – which does not give much positive thought to the guys who are playing as replacements.

What’s more, his “It is vitally important we get back to playing as a team,” was a criticism of everyone together.  Coutinho is reported to have had “words” with Rodgers at the last match, while Gerrard had “words” with Mignolet.   Mamadou Sakho walked away from the club when told he was not in the squad against Everton.

Put it all together and it doesn’t look a happy place.

And the response of the blogs: attack, attack, attack.  Even a win offers only limited respite.

————————-

There’s an index to the most recent articles on the home page.

42 comments to When the wheels fall off the bus

  • colario

    When Pat Rice was manager (in preperation for the arrivial of Arsene) the BBC had the cameras and interviewers outside Highbury before a match.

    I would long have forgotten this but for one snippet.

    BBC “What are you hopes for this season?”

    “Supporter.” We have got a youth team coach for a manager. This club is going nowhere!”

    I thought “Pat Rice taking the club no where! What rubbish.”

    About two years after the first double, I met someone from school whom I had not seen since we left school. He like me an Arsenal supporter.

    I quote his exact words. “That wasn’t Arsene Wenger’s double, that was Pat Rice’s double”.

    It is a fallacy that a good player is certain to make a good manager or a good referee.

    However its seems to be that the belief is that any explayer who can open his mouth and make sounds about football is a good pundit or even commentator.

    The truth is in the media for us all to hear or read that their ability to see or understand what is happening in football is about as much a cat in a ditch has.

    The average fan is no different. The only difference we have today from the past is that to day these wind bags be they comentator, pundit or fan is that they are no longer restricted to gabbing their banalities on the terraces. If only they were once again restricted to the terraces.

    I watched the game on Sunday saw the constant fouls on our team go unpenalised.

    After the game I didn’t bother to listern to media or read reports on the game. For we know there would be little said about the fouls on Arsenal that went unpunished but only the claim that Arsenal fail again.

    It has always been like this and will always be like this until the PMGOL becomes a democratic organisation.

  • jonfromwellington

    we would be top of the league if it wasn’t for the proven bias against Arsenal by referees and the media.

    Wenger could win the treble every year for the next decade and there would still be supporters calling for him to be sacked.

  • AB

    Oh no Jon ! No Jon , no Jon no !

  • AB

    But we are improving no doubt about that still work to be done if we want to win the big prizes .

  • Kanenas

    Excellent article that touches on the human psyche, which is always attracted to the bad news, as opposed to being indifferent to good news. It has always worked that way and unfortunately the media, blogs etc always take advantage of it.

  • partha

    @Tony well said

  • gouresh

    In 1 of out training sessions I was told that if you had a bad experience in some place, on an average you tell 9 people. But if its a good one, you tell none. Hence the people who come an insult their own players / managers, irrespective of the clubs they follow. Back in 2007 we all remember at the CL game, egorinio was booed off & the supporters singing “u don’t know what u are doing”. This inspite of winning trophy’s. The self proclaimed special one ws no long longer special. Now his is back and the same fans singing his name. Fans are fickle and live in the present. But I don’t blame them. They want their teams to succeed. Weather if for bragging right or otherwise, that’s a matter of debate.

  • Chapman's Ghost

    “There are signs from within that some players actually note what the fans are like, and decide where they are gong accordingly.”

    There you go with this again. What signs? Where’s the proof?

    As for Liverpool and Rogers I think some of their fans are the personification of fickle. Balotelli may come good, they need to have some faith in Rogers and a little patience. Losing a player of Suarez’s stature is never easy to deal with, we know what that’s like when we lost RVP.

    All teams have negative fans who react the minute results don’t go the way they want them to. For some people that’s what they like to do best. Then you get fans like JonfromWellington, which is I assume the place in NZ, who seems to be watching games upside down otherwise he wouldn’t make such an odd statement about us deserving to be top of the league. Chelsea are where they should be, top, and I’m afraid Mourinho is a slightly better manager than AW, proof being that Wenger has not beaten Mourinho once in numerous attempts. Of course Mourinho instructs his team to upset our game and yes the ref was poor yesterday but show me one decent ref in the EPL. I don’t think there is one. Not sure Mourinho’s spoiling tactics would have worked when we had players like Vieira or Adams but we seem to be eschewing that type of player.

    Wenger though seems to be aware of our lack of an athletic tough dm because he did say we needed one and I suspect he couldn’t get what he wanted and he’ll redress this in January or next summer.

    It was a disappointing result yesterday but we did play a lot better than last season in the same fixture. The other disappointing thing was Wenger losing his cool with Mourinho and the rather disingenuous comment about Chelsea’s financial muscle when we had the most expensive player on the pitch and we have vast sums of the money in the bank.

  • omgarsenal

    Adrian Clarke sums it up perfectly on Arsenal.com

  • WalterBroeckx

    Indeed OMG,
    http://player.arsenal.com/player/5512-the-breakdown-chelsea-a is the link to the video.

    A pundit that knows what he is talking about… so you will never see him with the big boys. I hope he never sells his soul to those devils and keeps doing his thing on arsenal.com for a long long long time

  • john

    I admire Mr. Wenger for shoving Mourinho.

  • Andrew

    Bravo what a great article. It could have been written today lol. Another loss away to a SO CALLED RIVAL LOL. You could not make this up. Wenger does not have a RIVAL with Mourinho its complete DOMINATION!!! The man is washed up and the sooner he goes the better for the club. This season top 4 is looking shaky that holy grail. Yet I bet the usual delusional brigade( what I call them now) will still defend their messiah. I ask you lot this one question. Will arsenal ever win the league under wenger again?? simple question. Don’t dodge answer it. I hate Mourinho with a passion hes a arrogant fool and has no respect, but wenger got desperate and resulted into pushing him lool. The man is finished wake up. Hes not going to win the league. If you cant win the league with a 8 point lead than its never going to happen again under him. We need a change folks. Today quality hurt us again. Hazzard was fantastic, fabregas was unbelievably good again. That’s now 7 assists. He turned him down folks for wilshere folks, not Ozil as fabregas is a cm not a number 10. Hes more of a QB. a player who I would have brought back in a heart beat, hes better than wilshere. Again wenger is just so deluded. He made up some nonsense that fabregas deal was done in January with Chelsea lool. Hes trying to cover hes back and he knows he made a terrible mistake letting him go to Chelsea. Ozil for again looks WEAK!!! The kids need to go to gym and get stronger. He looks weak. He looks like a little 16 year old. Even Oscar is not that weak. I’m sorry folks it was another loss away from home against a SO CALLED RIVAL. Its has been 4 seasons now since we won a match away from home against either Chelsea, man city or manure. I’m tired of it and I think this man has to go. WAKE UP!!! We wont be winning the pl or champions league under this man. Look im not here to have arguments with delusional wenger fanboys. Just like this article which destroys every deluded bunches argument. Lets have a factual argument not a pathetic school ground spat. Let me lay down a fact 12-0 against Mourinho!!! That is a fact its not making stuff up its a fact. Moyes took four points of us against us last season, yes moyes loool. Keep defending that. Now wenger is talking about financial power lol as the reason why we lost. I THOUGHT WE HAD THE MONEY NOW???? So is it all bunch of nonsense?? FANS WAKE UP!!! Why is Usmanov not allowed on the board why!!! Its just getting disgusting and im tired of it. Chelsea fans singing wenger please stay. Its just disgusting. Feel so low. Yet folks will keep defending this every time 

  • AB

    Adrian Clarke someone worth listening to .

  • apo Armani

    @colario
    October 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    “…I watched the game on Sunday saw the constant fouls on our team go unpenalised.

    After the game I didn’t bother to listern to media or read reports on the game. For we know there would be little said about the fouls on Arsenal that went unpunished but only the claim that Arsenal fail again…”

    I did exactly the same and for the same reasons…at this age no media needs to convince me differently to what I witness with my own eyes for crying out loud!!!

  • apo Armani

    Walter,

    Excellent write-up…again!

  • apo Armani

    whoops meant Tony!!

  • proudkev

    Andrew, you don’t ever give it a rest mate. We had this debate on the other page but you are back boring us all again with this Usmanov nonsense. What do you think he would do? He already praises your devil Arsene Wenger, as does nearly every professional in the game. But you know best. The fact is simple. We are still catching up with the obscene investment biilion pound plus ‘donation’ the Russian Oligarch made. You are the only person I know that expected us to go to Chelsea and get three points. I thought we have improved and put up a good performance, which had the referee done his job with the Cahill tackle, we may have come away with a result. Mind you, I suspect had Cahill been sent off and we had drawn, it would be the usual, ‘we only drew because Cahill was sent off’. It really is so predictable. You can keep Usmanov, I do not want that dividend seeking Russian mafia man using Arsenal as his play thing. We are gradually getting there, it takes time but once we do few would be able to catch up.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just cannot break your copy and past habit can you Andrew….or should I say Marcus….commenting today’s Online Gooner article

  • Mandy Dodd

    Don’t waste your considered opinion on him Proudkev….just another copy and paste type

  • proudkev

    People have short memories, especially in the media. Eduardo and Ramsey received broken legs from horrible, reckless over the top tackles by “English” players, that must have been really distressing for those in the club. So why is anybody surprised Arsene reacted the way he did? It happened right in front of the dugouts, yet Mourinho waved his arms in the air to indicate he took the ball, because he knew that was a red card. There is no outcry about Cahills attempt to ‘do’ another player or Mourinhos attempts to con the referee. Where is the balance? This is typical of the English thug attitude and the main reason why we are an embarrassment at International level. We find these tackles acceptable. We even have Phil Neville, his brother Gary and Alan Smith claiming Chelseas persistent fouling, off the ball shirt pulling, trips and shoves are all clever gamesmnaship. It beggars belief. It really does. These tackles are outlawed for a reason – they are career ending. There is no excuse for these. I have played football at a decent level and while it is natural to mistime tackles in a genuine attempt to get the ball, going over the top of the ball is not an accident.

    Is it a coincidence that we have had Eduardo, Ramsey and Diaby ‘done’ and Sanchez lucky not to be joining that list, all by English players? No.

  • proudkev

    Mandy, sorry but those clowns depress me.

    I am more worried about the tackles that seem to be allowed against our players. I am not saying there is an agenda but something is not right.

  • bjtgooner

    @proudkev

    Your posts have been great, so don’t let the AAAA tossers get to you – they are trying “rotational fouling” to wear down support for the team, manager & board.

    And you are right – there is an agenda!

    @Walter

    If Andrew above is a copy & waste (sorry paste) merchant can we have this one troll binned?

    Good spot Mandy.

  • Sleekwhale

    I watched the game and I knew that if we were not so neat in everything we would not have conceded those goals but as I’d always say, its the Arsenal and that’s how to play soccer. The calls were poor 2ce in 2games that our opponent should have seen red and the red became a yellow in the ref’s hand. Well this article is not about the game so most comments should find there way elsewhere on other articles or some other sites. I believe that the old saying “no news is good news” is just more of a fact than we admit. Thank God AW was wise enough to pass up on Balo. Till Hull have a lovely international break.

  • AB

    If you ignore people they get bored and go away . Confucius .
    Would regular posters please refrain from using the C##tT word we have
    Regular lady posters and we are supposed to be Gentlemen , mentioning
    no names .

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think there may well be an agenda Proudkev

  • Pete

    Despite the copy and pasted diatribe, Andrew only gets 2 bingo points (CAPS and delusional).

    Perhaps a bonus point for plagiarism?

    Too much repetition and several factual inaccuracies – not to mention the spelling and grammatical mistakes.

    And don’t get me started on the content…

  • greencardusa

    Watching the match live on Saturday, I felt the bile in me rise at the decisions or rather lack of decisions by the referee. For once, I stopped and considered how it was affecting my experience of the game. For what this was doing to me, I couldn’t for the love of me imagine why I would want to watch the game in such a condition. It also occurred to me that my antipathy towards the anti-arsenal media bigotry – yes that is what it is – the repeated bias’ of referees, and the venom spewed by the AAA all had a part in informing my senses in how I watched the game. We never come to watch a game without our eyes being already informed. So, I consciously set these apart, not ignoring them, and only then began to see and enjoy what I initially came to see – the beauty of Arsenal’s football. So, if this is how difficult it was for me, an Arsenal supporter, how much more difficult must it be for others – especially, those AAA, the media bigots, the mindless talking heads, the shameless pundits…?

  • Rantetta

    Cut&indulgence paste please (1)
    Re: A few things as predicted..

    @C4 (posts betw. 12 &1 pm

    Very good posts, sir.

    There was something slightly different on MOTD2. (I haven’t seen the whole prog). The bit where the fouling was pointed out by Keown interested me as this showing fouls in an Arsenal match doesn’t usually include fouls on Ars players.

    Naturally, there’ll be plundits vociferously defending the rights of any and all players to KTSOOA (Kick the shit out of Arsenal).

    It’s a pity none of them point out that Arsenal’s perennial injury crises are entirely about the bi-weekly KTSOOA!

    Note the block by Ivanbitch on Ozil, then look carefully at how Cahill “split steps” (to use a tennis term) prior to his attempt to break Sanchez’s foot. Then see how Cahill is facing the pitch after contact. From this angle you can see the real intent (i.e. No accident or mistiming). That, my friends, is a “tackle” from a COWARD!
    http://arsenalist.com/f/2014-15/chelsea-vs-arsenal/cahill-yellow-card-foul-on-sanchez-which-led-to-wenger-mourinho.html

  • Rantetta

    Cut&indulgence paste please (2)

    BitchIvan

    He’s not that kind of player:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7N_Y8YtcTH8

  • bjtgooner

    @Rantetta

    Some very telling links – showing what a pack of scum the Specialist in Cheating has assembled, and what a biased load of plonkers the PGMO(L) employ.

  • Pat

    @Rantetta – yes, a coward. A bully and a coward. That is all these players are. Scared of good footballers so they have to try to injure them – or at the very least stop them from playing. And the managers who instruct them to do so are cowards too.

    It’s disappointing that the Manchester United DNA is so deep in Gary and Phil Neville (who are not stupid men) that they try to justify this kind of play.

    @Tony – agreed on everything you say about Brendan Rodgers. He is showing that he is at bottom a petty man by his regular critical comments about his players. Again, Arsene Wenger shows up in sharp contrast.

  • para

    Yes, Adrian Clarke on Arsenal Player is the only game review i listen to/watch.

    I threw my TV out some years back, so i am not any more inundated by the projected dribble and subtle/hidden racism that is shown on TV, not to mention the licence fee.

    OK, a little warning to Alexis, DON’T do that. Don’t try to fool the ref, because in this climate the ref will book you. You do not need to, as they foul you anyway. Just try to be aware and avoid the tackle/contact if you can.

    But i loved Alexis v Chelsea GK, yes, take him out i say, and this was a needed response to Cahill on Alexis i think. Anyway Arsenal were tough with Chelsea all game too, and really, it was only our mistakes that made us lose, else that would have been a draw.

  • para

    One thing i realised when walking through a crowded area, is to tense up my shoulders, for i used to come home with bruises on my shoulder after.
    Since i tensed up my shoulder while walking through crowds, this did not happen any more.

    So i wonder if players tense up their limbs if they sense an attack, or do they just keep it limp and soft? If the opposer is tensed up and you are soft, then you will get injured, but if your limbs are also tense, the force will be spread over the two limbs instead of just the one.

    That is my experience.

  • Gord

    OT: Some games have been rescheduled.

    Arsenal v Newcastle United
    Saturday, December 13
    Kick-off: 5.30pm (originally 3pm)
    Live on: SKY SPORTS

    Liverpool v Arsenal
    Sunday, December 21 (originally December 20)
    Kick-off: 4pm
    Live on: SKY SPORTS

    Arsenal v Queens Park Rangers
    Friday, December 26
    Kick-off: 5.30pm (originally 3pm)
    Live on: BT Sport

    The below game had previously been rescheduled consequent to Southampton’s fixture against Manchester City moving to Sunday, November 30 as a result of TV selections.

    Arsenal v Southampton
    Wednesday, December 3
    Kick-off: 7.45pm
    Live on: BT SPORT

    This is from: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20141006/three-arsenal-matches-are-rescheduled

  • Pete

    Quick one on Cahill, which I haven’t seen mentioned before, but it felt to me like he was trying to exact retribution on Sanchez for Courtois’ injury. It was a really, really bad foul.

    According to a goalkeeping coach I spoke to yesterday, Courtois challenged with his head up – he should have tucked it in/kept it low. Strikers can usually get their foot out of the way, but knees/thighs are much harder. Most GK head injuries are because of this goalkeeping mistake. It is very rare – thankfully – that strikers deliberately “leave their foot in” to attempt to injure the keeper (although much more common that they try to “win” a penalty like this).

  • WalterBroeckx

    About the Alexis-Courtois incident it is clear that once Alexis saw that Courtois would be first on the ball he tried to stop his run and even jumped up in the air in an attempt to avoid a collision. As Pete said because of Courtois keeping his head up he came together with the thigh of Alexis.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Why are you guys attacking Andrew?
    I suggest he buys Usmanov a beer and asks him to take care of the PGMOL, as they are obviously afraid of Mourinho; based on the Cahill incident, I foresee a “compensation” by the PGMOL, such as a Red Card to Cahill on a tackle that only deserves a Yellow card, during say… the game against QPR, with Chelsea up 4-0, and Kurt Zouma ready to take over, just as a coincidence.
    If Usmanov takes care of the PGMOL, I would send a personal letter of recommendation for a board seat.

  • Andy Mack

    Pat, make no mistake, Phil Neville is stupid.
    Gary a bit less so.

  • bob mac

    In the good very old days commentators would tell you which player was which during the game. A brilliant and much welcomed idea.

    Now the assumption is that, even though you are capable of seeing your own TV, you must require assistance by some ignorant ex-player to explain to you what is going on.

    Do the TV companies think that all the football fans watching are actually blind, or just gormless.

  • Tasos

    Phil Neville?

    Really.

    In a couple of weeks time Man Utd will host Chelsea at Old Trafford.

    And when Di Maria is hauled to floor, or body checked, or shirt pulled for the umpteenth time, or when Falcao is taken out by Gary Cahill, or Oscar, or Ivanovich will Phil Neville form the very same conclusion.

    I’m all ears.