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Should Untold Arsenal be more balanced? Some Perspective about Perspective

By TommieGun

I am writing this post in order to offer some of my thoughts about opinions being published here and in other media, regarding Arsenal, Arsene, what it means to be a fan (or a supporter), what is acceptable to say (or write), and what is not acceptable.

I will lay out a few assumptions, or working thesis out of the way, so it will be easier for me to focus on what I consider the main issue:

  1. Untold Arsenal is an Arsenal SUPPORTER website. If we want to hear how shitty our club, manager and players are – we can all log onto the regular media (BBC, SKY sports, etc) or log onto Arsenal websites which actually in my opinion are not supportive of the club, due to extreme negativity and disruptive attitude.
  2. There are a lot of people who think that Arsenal as a club is not doing as well as it should do. Their opinion is valid. For clarity sake, that is also my opinion.

Ok. So having laid out those assumptions let’s tackle the problem head on – why is it so difficult for some Untold regulars with some posters; why in my opinion there is a very big difference between some posters who criticize the club, the manager or the players and other posters who do the same, albeit in a different manner; and why is it difficult for some Arsenal supporters to identify with some of the views published on Untold.

I would do what I try to do in most arguments I present: start from the bottom line. And my bottom line is that many untolders act like lawyers. Actually: quite good ones, too. But when a person advocates for a cause (and that is what lawyers do) – he (first) should acknowledge that he is doing that, and (second) understand that his position does not, essentially, represent reality as it is.

Let’s start with a few examples. Driver A enters an intersection while the traffic light is red. Just to make the story a bit more interesting, it is not a blatant red, but rather a very dark shade of yellow (which means that he did cross the intersection while the light was red, but it was rather poor judgment and not complete disregard of traffic rules). Driver A’s car hits Driver B’s car. Driver B did not bother to strap his safety seat belt, and suffers fatal injuries.

Now let’s play a game in which you have to defend Driver A. You will contend that your client did not, in any way, disregard human life; he entered the intersection fully believing that he will be able to cross it safely as it was just the end of the yellow light; and the fatality occurred solely due to Driver B’s negligence by not using his seat belt – had driver B acted according to the safety regulations, he would have suffered a minor concussion. His negligence was the sine qua non for the dire consequences.

And now you are the prosecutor. You will contend that none of the unfortunate incident would have occurred had driver A just observed traffic regulations, and stopped at the traffic light which was, admittedly, a “dark shade” of yellow. Driver B’s actions are irrelevant, and naturally, it was Driver A’s actions that are the sine qua non.

It might look simple, but in fact this is not an easy case. How much of the incident can be attributed to each driver? A tough call. For sure, the blame must be shared as it is clear that driver B would still be alive had any of the drivers acted reasonably.

In reality, the judgment might very well be to send Driver A to jail for depraved indifference to human life, regardless of Driver B’s negligence, not because of the logical distribution of responsibility, but rather because as a society, we want to encourage people not to cross intersections when the traffic light is red and we put a special emphasis on human lives. So normative values, in this case (and many other cases) supersede the logical allocation of causation.

But now let us change the story a bit. Driver A still crossed when the red light was on, but Driver B was driving a pickup truck, with a very valuable cargo of delicate furniture. He did not wrap the furniture and did not protect it whatsoever. Driver B crossed the intersection when the green light was on, but was driving well above the speed limit.

Now we neutralized the human life factor, and I’m pretty sure that it would be much harder for any court to determine that Driver A is responsible for 100% of Driver B’s financial loss. This case would go into long deliberations regarding causality, allocation of responsibility and preventive measures.

Again, each of the lawyers representing Driver A or Driver B, respectively, would have contended that their client is blameless and that causality calls for assigning 100% of the blame to the other party.

I can tell you from my experience that even after 10 years in courts, to hear another colleague present a case, totally one-sided and seemingly oblivious to other obvious facts, can be, putting aside the appreciation I feel for the professionalism displayed, a very embarrassing experience. To see a fellow intelligent colleague, present a fiery argument, while TOTALLY DISREGARDING CAST IRON FACTS, is bewildering.

And I’m a lawyer, who goes to court, which in your country would make me a barrister. I’m doing it myself, every week. Sometimes it is easy because the case “presents itself”. But sometimes it is not, and I need to be very convincing even though I might not truly believe that my presentation of the case is the accurate one.

Now this is a bit what’s going on in Untold.

There is a match. Facts are (for that match): (A) we don’t play very well and make some silly mistakes; and (B) the ref makes some horrible mistakes against us, we are being constantly fouled, and we lose a disproportionate number of players to injury.

Now reading some of the so-called “other” Arsenal sites, that just spill out negativity and misery, or unfortunately, the common media, you would hear a story that completely ignores part (B) of the above paragraph. When we read this, we get angry; we get angry because we know this is not a true portrayal of the truth.

But when we write an opinion that disregards part (A) of the above paragraph then we are acting the same.

Which is, if we do it consciously, totally ok. If we know we are acting as Arsenal “lawyers” – and some of the Untolders are not ashamed of saying that (for instance: saying that until the PGMOL thing is sorted out, we are not willing to criticize the club) – then it is ok. The problem is that some people are not consciously aware that they are in fact acting as lawyers.

And good ones, too. In my opinion and from my experience, being a good lawyer is 90% controlling the facts, 10% controlling the law. If you get the facts right, the rest will follow. And Untold is, proudly, a lot about the facts. It is not about making speculative assumptions and conjectures – it is about verified facts. However, being a good lawyer does not make you right – it might make you win the case, on some occasions, or it might make you just what you are – a good lawyer, no more no less.

My point is that the fact that us Untolders back up our arguments with facts, does not help us when we disregard other meaningful facts that are not coinciding with the narrative we wish to deliver. Let’s take Anderlecht at home. An Untold narrative would be – Anderlecht’s first goal was offside, this is undoubtedly the sine qua non, hence we drew due to a ref’s decision. Mathematically speaking, this is correct. But logically? Hardly. We conceded 1 goal. There were 20 minutes to go. Anderlecht scored 2 more goals, which were down to our inability to close down the game and some very visible and stupid mistakes. So all the arguments about refs screwing us over, backed up by facts that prove that we suffer from bad decisions 1.5636 times per game more than the average other team over the course of the last 9.457892 years, makes absolutely no difference. Same goes for the Man United match. Fellaini was offside and pushed Gibbs, but we were dominant, destroyed them, and managed to miss 9 100% chances (out of 23 chances that night if I’m not mistaken).

Now a sharp turn from the foregoing into another area, and I promise the 2 premises will meet up soon.

Let’s go back to the car accident example. You are not the prosecutor, and you contend that it is all Driver A’s fault, and you demand that he shall be executed tomorrow. Actually you want him hung, drawn and quartered. And his family deported. So you are not really talking about allocating responsibility now: you are calling for action. And might I say, you are being a complete idiot about it.

I suggest you already guess that this blood thirsty prosecutor is the equivalent of the “Wenger Out” brigade. They, like some barbaric crowd, don’t really care about the complexity of the case; about alternative narratives; about alternatives in life; they want revenge, they want someone to pay, they want to see a head on a stick. They are morons. There is absolutely no reason to try and understand them and try to convince them or whatever because it would be a waste of time. There is no “meeting someone in the middle” if they just want to see blood for the sake of blood. Those people should be fought against.

So wrapping this long rant up – I see a huge difference posters who say that the team did not play well, that player X made a lot of mistakes, or even that Arsene could have signed player Y or Z – and posters who say – “all of this is Wenger’s fault, he should be sacked, he is ruining the club… bla bla bla”.

Just understand the when people point out facts which had, probably, contributed to the ultimate outcome of events, it does not necessarily mean that they disregard the fact that we are disproportionately injured and get a lot of refs’ decisions against us. It means that they (might) feel that in Untold, there are enough hard-fighting “lawyers” that present the Arsenal case, and that there is room to present the “people” case – which takes into consideration all relevant facts at face value.

The Christmas books

Some other sites from the Untold team (there is a full list on the home page)

64 comments to Should Untold Arsenal be more balanced? Some Perspective about Perspective

  • Oluwatoba

    Wow, what a fantastic post Shai Avnieli, if not a Lawyer, who else? Detailed, carefully written (could only spot one typo) and yes, exhaustive but interesting. Thank you sir.

  • Nicky

    @Shai,
    If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as lawyer. 😉

  • Mandy Dodd

    An interesting piece, probably reflecting the polarised nature of the fanbase, which in many cases has split along the lines of the manager. There are many reasonable people on both sides who can become very defensive over the team and manager, I know I can be one of them. Yes untold is a site that backs the club players and manager, yes, reasonable people can be expected to be able to criticise all three at times in a constructive way if they can back it up with rational words, but we are so used to the biased media, the trolls, the more,extreme elements of the aaa, the way these players get treated by refs, the way the manager gets treated by said media, it is enough to make many just want to back them unconditionally , almost to redress an horrible unbalance, that and many just love the club.
    For the record, I think the players sometimes make mistakes, as does the manager, lack of defenders may well be one of these mistakes at the moment, but there are always mitigating factors, many of which we will not know about for very good reasons. It is very easy to spin apparent faults to fit an agenda. Sites like this and Positively Arsenal, as well as to a lesser extent Arseblog are a bit of a shelter from the endless negativity written about the club, by some who are bored and frustrated, others who have a clear agenda, and in some cases, populated by posters who seem to spend a suspicious amount of time bigging up Chelsea.
    Think I would always rather read about Arsenal that how well supposed Gooners think Chelsea are doing.

  • Pete

    @Shai – thanks.

    I agree with Mandy’s comment that the ongoing onslaught against our manager provokes an opposing reaction. The important thing to remember is that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Including Wenger. But also any possible replacements. However my view remains that he is by far the best option for the longer term future of the club. Despite his mistakes he has over-achieved every single season he has been here in terms of wages and transfer spend. That is one h*ll of a record.

    I can forgive him his apparent failures in injury management because of his extreme effectiveness in player development.

  • wengerson

    @ Shai

    I beg to differ! Most of the time the scenario is:
    There is a match. Facts are (for that match): (A) we PLAY very well; and (B) the ref makes some horrible mistakes against us, we are being constantly fouled, and we lose a disproportionate number of players to injury.

  • PV4

    Part B is always ignored. Even if there isn’t grounds for a part B, the media ‘experts’ always manage to downgrade any win. I recall once when Theo scored a hattrick against Blackpool, played out of his skin and won MOM. On MOTD, Alan Hansen decided to gloss over the goals and picked out six things that Theo did wrong! If the ‘law’ really played a part in football, surely there would be many cases of GBH and gross misconduct of justice against Arsenal. BTW, I used to follow Le Moan once upon a time, but grew tired of their bleating and ritual slagging off of the club they supposedly support. On this site there is a definite support for Arsenal with realistic insights and opinions. Great job Untold.

  • TommieGun

    @ Wengerson –

    When we play very well, we USUALLY win, regardless of any ref trying to screw us over. My best recent example was the FA Cup final. The ref was blatantly trying to give the game to Hull, but we prevailed nontheless. So in those matches there is no real debate about the influence of refs / injuries on our RESULT, but rather pointing out that we got screwed over (again) by the officials.

    As we all know, AAAs are quite silent after we win, so I was not really talking about those cases …

  • Who is Shai Avnieli? What have I missed? Thought TommieGun penned the article?

  • bob mac

    Interesting article, bit complicated though!!!!

    Bottom line is that ALL supporters/fans ‘suffer’ from Motivated Reasoning. This is unavoidable whichever club you support.

    Mistakes are only ever apparent after the fact, I have yet to meet the person who does not make them, or who makes them on purpose(unless your name is Balotelli).

    For those who constantly moan, please show some empathy, and start to believe what a wonderful team we have run by a truly brilliant manager.

  • Mandy Dodd

    How the manager and team are viewed by Arsenal fans is always subject to context. Some believe he is a stubborn set in his ways dinosaur stuck in a set of principles that harm the club, a tight wad, surrounded by yes men…jobs for the boys… admittedly an easy sell after some performances. Then you get the swivel eyed loons, frothing at the mouth hatred for all things Arsenal. also, the old school, almost socialist types who believe a rampant form of capitalism has taken their club from them, aided and abetted by the manager. Others back the club and all it does for their own reasons. Wenger sometimes does things hard to understand and easy to criticise on the surface. But like many on here, I am convinced he will take some replacing when he calls it a day. He has in the past undoubtedly punched above his weight. Ok 4th at least should now be expected with our resources as they are reported. The club are supposed to have £200m in the bank, according to some, all available to Wenger, despite the CEO denying any such thing. But this is where the context comes in. Wenger has done the well documented amazing job on little resources, wth all kinds of forces and vested interests lined up against him. There are some, like myself who believe in addition to all this, he has been instructed to build up a large sum of money- say £70-£100m, and put it aside, not to be touched. Perhaps as part of the bank loan deal, or maybe as collateral for the owner, I am not alone in the NAV theory. IF this is true, nothing illegal or even immoral in this,just a perfectly well established business/finance practice, but it may just have made Wengers achievements even more impressive…and even if you do not subscribe to such theories, Mr Wenger is impressive enough anyway.
    The media this morning laugh at Wengers claims he COULD win the league before his current deal ends. They should already have learned to put nothing past this man.

  • TommieGun

    @ Mandy – I almost agree with you 100%. This is a money game, and we were able to somehow compete OUT of our league, only thanks to Wenger.

    And I also believe that even though we are doing a lot better financialy, he is still under very strict constraints imposed by the owners (which I have to say, if true, is not something I find very encouraging).

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Enjoyable article Tommie, thanks mate.
    Mandy– “Then you get the swivel eyed loons, frothing at the mouth hatred for all things Arsenal.” spot on a hilarious but unfortunately true observation, cant think where that type lurks!
    COYG! etc

  • Wengerson

    @ TommieGun

    When we play very well, we don’t USUALLY win, due to ref screwing us over. Recent example is the chelsea match. Besides, why should we play “extra” well just to negate the ref influence? No other team has to do this! Also, when we don’t play well (ie. vs Swansea, @ Dortmund) we acknowledge, but keep supporting the team anyway. This is more than I can say about people who won’t acknowledge ref influence

  • Mandy Dodd

    Tommie, think he has certainly been under huge constraints, most of which we do not know about. Hopefully, if he really has been told to put money aside, he has now done so …and his spending power will be increased, think/hope we have seen evidence of this in the past year. Have always believed , if the whole truth on his finances were to come out, he would be viewed much more sympathetically…at least in some quarters! Could another manager have done better- nobody will even know, but i have my doubts.
    Kenneth, borrowed that term from something David Cameron alledgedly said, and sunsequently denied about the more rabid right wing anti Europe, anti immigrant fringes of the Conservative Party….just seems to fit some of the AAA so well!

  • 4evered

    TommieGun I really found your piece interesting even though I had to hang on at certain parts as my poor old brain stretched some muscles it had not used for a while – LOL
    Do you think though that there are other circumstances that effect our views of the team like , how long we have supported the team and some of the firsthand experiences we have ?
    Although I am a season ticket holder and attend most away games including Europe I have at times followed the team from Overseas getting up at crazy O’clock to trudge off to some bar and watch but I have found that I feel for more detached about the teams Loses or wins on those occasions compared to for example – driving down the M6 after Gigs ran through our entire defence and knocked us out in the semi final at vila park in 99 I don’t think I ever felt so low after a football game so much so that I wished I didn’t care or crying after Jens penalty save in Villareal and dancing through the town for the rest of the night .
    Do people like me feel a sense on entitlement because we travel and pay ? and that affects our view .
    great read anyway thanks

  • @ Mandy “The media this morning laugh at Wengers claims he COULD win the league before his current deal ends. They should already have learned to put nothing past this man.”

    Putting natural pre-season optimism to one side, I think that many Arsenal supporters felt that with the addition of Alexis and with better luck with injuries, we would come close to building on and bettering last season’s challenge. Interestingly, not many pundits thought we were in a position to do better than 3rd or 4th, and it seems that thus far they are right. We will never know how things would have panned out had we not lost Kos, Ozil, Giroud and Ramsey for such long periods this Autumn – and Debuchy’s injury when leading City was a real blow – but I suspect that had we enjoyed better luck (or protection from the Refs) we would have been much closer to a title challenge than we are now. It is quite clear to me that AW feels he is within spitting distance of a quality squad who could indeed carry all before them, and he more than anyone must have felt the frustration that the performances thus far have generated.

  • TommieGun

    @ Wengerson – this is just a matter of perspective. What is playing “well” ? Is it playing at 80% of our ability? 75% ? Maybe you think 51% or more is “well”. Very subjective really. So I will say that for me “well” is making most of the decisions right, working our ass off, taking our chances, and not commit silly costly defensive mistakes.

    I think that against most teams in the premier legaue, be it home OR away, had it not been for the refs, we should have won most of the matches even when not playing at our best – simply because we are a much better team with a much better manager.

    However, this does not vindicate the squad when not playing well, and this season my opinion is that generally we did not play well, due to some reasons which I thought I understood and most probably due to many other reasons which I don’t.

    Regarding the Chelsea match, I beg to differ on 2 grounds: (a) They have a very good squad, so to win against them at Stamford Bridge, we need to play at our best (b) I don’t think we played very well and neither did Chelsea.

    I have to add, that it is quite obvious that the only match you could come up with is a very difficult match – AWAY to Chelsea, who has a very good squad.

    I have to say that I am a bit saddened by your response which was the exact purpose of my post – to give some perspective; when someone says Arsenal did not play well it should not disregard the refs decisions or injuries, and vice versa; and it is WAY too often that people are taking the either/or approach.

  • TommieGun

    @ Foreverheady – I’ll answer by a story, if possible.

    2010 I was in Alpe D’huez in France doing the most important thing in life (sorry, Arsenal) – snowboarding.

    But of course why not combine my favorite things if possible; so after a long day of powder I started asking around to find an English pub to watch the match, and unfortunately it was across town from my hotel. So I trduged along in 80 cm deep powder, -15 centigrade, to arrive. Missing the first 10 minutes, I ordered a beer. Had my first sip, Manure scored. I cursed, stepped outside for a smoke, came back, the fuckers scored again. It ended 3-1 to them, and I had to walk back in the freezing snow, cursing and upset.

    Would have done it all the same, in deeper snow and colder weather.

    I get to watch a few matches live every year; usually in Xmas and April, when visiting London.

    To make it very clear: I don’t feel any entitlement. None. And you shouldn’t either. There is a very interesting paper written by some undergrad student for Harvard business school in the late 80s talking about types of “investments” that psychologically are not expected to bear fruit. Do you know what were the examples? Vineyards, racehorses, and sports clubs. And I’m talking about OWNERS who put in a lot of money. When you put your money into certain things, you do it because you want to, no one forces you to do it, and you expect nothing in return. So I’m saying that you and I and other supporters who have invested practically nothing in the club [it’s not even investment – we bought a product which is a ticket to watch a match]. So I’m saying that basically, if you don’t like the deal, you don’t have to pay the money. If you pay – it’s because you want to.

  • TommieGun

    sorry the above reply was to 4evered.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree Foreverheady, we have had some shocking luck with some real freak injuries, even if the number of seeming soft tissue injuries over recent years is of concern to this observer at least (not in anyway taking away some of the blame from refs and tactics from opponents for many injuries). But with anything near our first choice players, we would be doing much better, that is not to disrespect the gallant efforts of the likes of Chambers and Monreal at times of course.
    Agree, Wenger seems to sense he is close to something special. Maybe that is why he is waiting to get hold of a higher calibre of player, as seems to be the case with some excellent recent signings.
    One thing though, as we have seen, the closer Wenger gets to success, the harder the vested interests will in their various forms rally against the boys. He needs to be aware of this. Afterall, City and Chelsea aside, there are two struggling north-west giants that many, for their own various reasons, want to be fitted into the top four by whatever means. Another one in London as well.

  • AB

    4Evered
    Me to I could never sit to watch a game on TV I’d be up and down , shirt drenched in sweat a complete bag of nerves, wife would moan like crazy .
    But age any watching endless games you must harden somehow , now I just sit there and await the outcome good or bad.
    Apathy sets in , shame even the dodgy refs don’t seem to bother me.
    Now setting off for tonight’s game , fingers crossed

  • 4evered

    Thanks Tommy Gun I get the logic behind the investment v purchasing access to goods and that makes sense – but could there be a cultural reference then in that growing up in Holloway walking distance to the ground ,in working class background it was an unashamed adversarial style of support which was ground into every part of your life and day – other fans were the enemy and you fought for the upper hand on behalf of you team (literally sometimes) and it did not feel like a choice in terms of following the club – this is where you grow up thats who you support .
    I have been going to watch the NY Giants since 1984 maybe 1 live game a year – used to go watch training camp in Albany too but whilst I want them to win it is impossible for me to feel the same way as people who grew up following the club and I learned this lesson when at a game in New York ex running back Tiki Barber was introduced to the crowd and my boy and i jumped up to cheer only for the rest of the stadium to rain boos down on him – LOL
    Then some New Yorker behind shouted sit down you fucking tourists and in all honesty he was right .
    There are Fans and there are Supporters .

  • Will

    The only problem I have with sites like this and Le Grove is you are not allowed to disagree with the main group.

    On here, if you dare call out Wenger or the players, you are told you are not a true Arsenal fan and told to sod off to another site. Same as Le Grove. I am sure there has to be somewhere in the middle.

  • Mandy Dodd

    sorry , off topic, know I mentioned this the other day, but RIP Gooner Hughes

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/30305207

  • TommieGun

    @ Will, I think you are wrong and this is also one of my points.

    But first – to say that untold is one end and Le Grove is another, is bullshit. It’s like saying – one the one hand we have homicidal fascists, on the other hand we have pacifistic green activists. “There has to be a way in the middle”. Duh.

    Second, I think that as long as you understand that THIS IS a pro Wenger / pro Arsenal site, there is no problem voicing reasoned criticism. I am doing it, Mandy is doing it, Blacksheep is doing it, and so do other regulars. What we don’t do is “Wenger is to blame! He is an idiot! We need to sack him!”.

  • Untold is a goldmine, period. Posters with absolutely brilliant minds are all over the place! Wow! This site gives true perspective and makes for enjoyable reading. The arguments make genuine efforts to be balanced without being arrogant. We are blessed with so many highly cerebral but polite people posting here.
    Well done Mandy, TommieGun, Bootoomee etc. Brilliant and beautifull, that’s what you all are.

  • TommieGun,

    Nice piece and very well made points.

    I agree with your point in general. I have always maintained that there is nothing wrong with being critical of the team, the manager and the board. But when coming from SUPPORTERS, I expect criticisms to be fair, constructive and most importantly, be based on fact, context and reality.

    I don’t necessarily agree that Untold have to always be objective. Objectivity isn’t a requirement for being a fan. It’s like asking parents to be objective about their children. Yes, it’s a good thing and in theory, they should but parents are guided by emotion which is subjective and it takes a very strong conscious effort to be objective about our children. Ditto for the clubs we support. Even after watching a game in which I know that Arsenal have played poorly, I hate to hear other people (media pundits, other fans, the AAA etc) tell me the same. It is just how it is. I am not saying it is right, I am saying that we need to understand the nature of the beast and let things be because it will only stop when we stop being supporters of the club.

    We mostly (if not all) gravitate towards where our personal outlook on things are reflected and Untold it is for me when it comes to supporting Arsenal. Its objective aligns with mine – not 100% – but a lot more than any other Arsenal site.

    And more importantly, the site is the most honest I know anywhere and on any topic on the Internet in terms of what its all about and its slant on it. That is why I personally see those who come around accusing us of being deluded because we support Wenger and the players after poor or undesired results as the ones with problems. Well, if you have difficulty supporting during runs of poor results and performances, you cannot really call yourself a supporter. It does not help either to go on rants against the manager and players on the Internet where no one that matters go to on how to improve the team. All those who do this achieve is creation or stoking of disaffection and negativity.

    We support the team all the time and if we have to put all the blames for our woes unfairly on the refs, so we must 🙂

  • Gord

    Nice article TommyGun.

    With respect to having enough players of a specific type, let’s build a hypothetical team. A manager always requires 1 backup goaltender, and most have 2. If the roster is limited to 25 players, that means we have 23 outfield players. We are going to split that 23 amongst 3 kinds of players, which means we have about 7 defenders, 7 midfield and 7 strikers. Leaving us with 2 leftover, which we’ll allocate to defenders.

    There is a bone at the base of our thumb called the scaphoid. If broken, this bone is notorious for taking a long time to heal due to poor blood flow (I believe). I am supposing a similar bone exists in the foot. Game Day 1, lose 2 defenders to broken bone in foot, leaving us with 7 defenders. They will be gone 8 weeks. Game Day 2, we lose 2 defenders to broken bone in foot, leaving us with 5 defenders. Game Day 3, we lose 2 defenders to broken bone in foot, leaving us with 3 defenders (not enough, we need 4). Three of our midfield have played a significant amount of defense, pull them back to defense giving us 6 defenders. Game Day 4 we lose 2 defenders to broken bone in foot, leaving us with 4 defenders. Well, another midfielder has some defense experience, so we change shape to 4-3-3 and push another to defense. Game Day 5 and we lose another 2 defenders to a broken bone, leaving us with 3 defenders. We are short 1 defender, have 5 “excess” strikers and no excess midfielders. We are 3 weeks away from having any defenders come back from injury, and if we continue to lose 2 players a week to a broken bone in the foot, we will be out of all excess players in 2 weeks.

    In any event, it is entirely possible to run out of players, regardless of how many are allocated, due to a build up of injuries.

    This particular scenario, would also point to intentional fouling, as the bone being broken is probably not broken that often. I have heard that in South America, that it is common for a player to “accidentally” step on the edge of a player’s instep, which would provide a mechanism for this series of injuries.

    And in an earlier hypothesis of mine, the referees would be at fault. After the first week (2 serious injuries), the referee should have been part of an independent serious injuriy investigation, and should have noted that how he/she was running the game, allowed for those injuries to happen. The continuing series of the same incidents should only magnify the need to do something about the situation.

    Talking about being short defenders, Vermaelen still isn’t fit to play for Barcelona. He just had surgery, which is going to put another 3 months of not playing on his plate. Even if we had of kept him, we would be in the same situation we are in now. Football is such that it always seems to be possible to find a situation which should never happen. But if the fans can pressure the system to deal with managable problems (such as unfair or biased officiating), it should help in the long run.

    TommyGun. Magine Snowboards (Port au Port, Newfoundland, Canada). Made from English flax fibre fabric and California pine tar based epoxy I believe. Ever heard of them? I believe started by 3 young guys out of high school, took over a closed fish cannery.

  • TommieGun wrote:

    “To make it very clear: I don’t feel any entitlement. None. And you shouldn’t either. There is a very interesting paper written by some undergrad student for Harvard business school in the late 80s talking about types of “investments” that psychologically are not expected to bear fruit. Do you know what were the examples? Vineyards, racehorses, and sports clubs. And I’m talking about OWNERS who put in a lot of money. When you put your money into certain things, you do it because you want to, no one forces you to do it, and you expect nothing in return. So I’m saying that you and I and other supporters who have invested practically nothing in the club [it’s not even investment – we bought a product which is a ticket to watch a match]. So I’m saying that basically, if you don’t like the deal, you don’t have to pay the money. If you pay – it’s because you want to.”

    Precisely!

    More than 90% of the fans in the league get worse than Arsenal in terms of value for their money. WE keep getting told falsely that Arsenal are the most expensive but apart from the fact that what Arsenal fans pay to sit at the Emirates isn’t accurately portrayed, the quality of the stadium, where it is located and the fact that ST holders regularly get to see some of the best clubs in the world is also ignored. A QPR fan may be paying less than a Gooner on average but when we factor in all the benefits and prestige, they should be the disgruntled ones.

    Irrespective of clubs’ stature though, I think it is ridiculously juvenile to get upset because the club isn’t winning games after we have spent so much time, effort and money to watch them. I have witnessed more Arsenal losses than victories on my visits but while there is no comparison between the euphoria of victory and the sorrow of every loss, I have always left a contented man, grateful for having a privilege that 99% of our fans around the world can only dream of.

    The club’s responsibility is to provide me a chair to sit on with unrestricted view and to put on a game for 90 to 120 minutes; it is not to get any particular result although good victories are always appreciated.

  • Wengerson

    @ TommieGun

    More often than not, Arsenal plays well. That means their performance warrants at least a draw. Now, most Untolders will acknowledge when we don’t play well ie. we don’t deserve anything from a game. I tried to highlight this by using your A and B points from the article, which seems to say that Untolders “hide” behind the refs even after poor performances by the team. Anyway, you have made it clear that you think the team is not doing well, which is an opinion that could be made without portraying Untolders as a group that uses the refs as scapegoats.

    Also, I did not expect chelsea to admit that Arsenal played well at stamford bridge, especially after major decisions weren’t given. After all they had 2 shots on target. The man utd game is another example of us playing a team off the park. The turning point was the Wilshere injury. We all know what happened immediately after that

  • jambug

    Jeeezzz

    I’ve read shorter books than that !!!

    Still, great piece with some wonderful comments (I really do wonder if you could get this level of debate on some of the other blogs mentioned but alas as I will never venture into such arenas I will have to remain un sure).

    Great work Untold.

  • Stan The Man,

    “We are blessed with so many highly cerebral but polite people posting here. Well done Mandy, TommieGun, Bootoomee etc.”

    Are you sure you want to include me on that list? Especially on the “polite” part 😉

    On a serious note, I appreciate your appreciation and I have always enjoyed reading your comments too.

  • TommieGun

    @ Wengerson – “you have made it clear that you think the team is not doing well, which is an opinion that could be made without portraying Untolders as a group that uses the refs as scapegoats” – on the contrary my friend. If my point was to say Arsenal are not doing well, then Untolders’ attitude would not have been relevant…

    The whole point of what I wrote, which I suspect with all due respect that you understand very well but choose to ignore, for some reason, was that more often than not, not only in football but in almost all aspects of life, results are a combination of contributory elements. Disregarding some of them and attributing the result to only part of them is something that I am very familiar with. It happens here in untold like it happens everywhere in life, and that was the only point I was trying to make.

    @ Jambug – in other sites you need to write “Wenger Out” somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd paragraph or you get blocked.

  • Va Cong

    I love all you guys 🙂 Thanks for making me feel like a SANE Arsenal fan. 😛

  • TommieGun

    @ Gord would love to try one. Are they being sold in Europe – I’m not going to fly into the US until March or so …

  • Gord

    TommyGun, According to their website, their only retailers are in Canada. They do ship them places. I’ve only read about this company because I have an interest in composites.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Good write-up. I like it. However, I preferred to be a practicalist than being a philosopher. But I know no practical will be practicable without first have the theory to base the practical on. And theory evolved from philosophy. Who is our theory? It is Arsenal. Who are our practicals? Is Arsene Wenger (alias the boss) and the Gunners. The boss failed to zeise that golden opportunity availed him to win the Barclays Premier League last season by leaving winning it to chance. The boss should have took that title by violent action. Because the Premier suffers violence and the most violent club take it by violence. I think the boss must have realised that this League has gone violent since he last won it. And unless he becomes violent, he will not get hold of it again. Hence his pronouncement of catching Chelsea to the title. If those injuries of ours are sorted out and the playing squad is correctly strengthened if needed to be. Can the youth team supply the requirements that are needed? If they can, no need to buy then. Arsenal will finish 1st, City 2nd, Chelsea 3rd and Liverpool 4th on the final day of placing in the table.

  • proudkev

    Great comments.

    Read on the Internet that the net spend since we occupied the stadium and the Monsours bought Man City, is as follows:

    Man City £541, Chelsea £321m and Arsenal £57.5m.

    Based on these figures and applying perspective, I would question why Wenger gets such a bad time from the media and the Wenger Out crowd. Seriously, the numbers speak for themselves. In fact, the Arsenal figure would have been even lower but for the £50 million net spend this summer.

    Why does this never get mentioned by anyone???

    Surely it adds real perspective to the debate. Doesn’t it?

  • Vintage Gooner

    Excellent post Tommie Gun both in content and in it’s purpose. It has certainly brought out the best in the comments made. I would dearly love to see the balance and the intelligence maintained but I fear we will be back to multiple As and abuse very quickly. Thanks for an outstanding example of perspective and long may it last.

  • @Bootoomee, sticking one into any of the depicable sort who attack our club relentlessly and hate Wenger with such passion, is very polite in my book.

  • Gord

    A different followup on ManCity. The BBC is saying they are becoming self-sustainable. I would imagine Mike will be along to help explain that.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30316758

  • jambug

    proudkev

    I have posted those figures on here dozens of times.

    Posters with a similar perspective to that of you and I say the same as we do.

    Wengers detractors, the AAA types and those in the Media seem to be able to dismiss them as a mere irrelevance.

    How and why is beyond me, well how is, as for why? I think we know that.

    -In one breath they scream ‘Spend The Fucking Money’, because spending loads of money will enable us to win things.

    -In the next breath they decree that Chelsea and City spending loads of money has had nothing to do with THEM winning things.

  • Mandy Dodd

    So it seems City have had to spend vast amounts and breach FFP to become self sustaining!
    Quite amazing numbers Kev, numbers that can only be ignored by those with an agenda, or those annoyed at somehow not profiting as much from Arsenal as perhaps they do other clubs.

    Thanks Stan The Man!

  • Will

    “The club is where we hoped it would be when we began this transformation six years ago,” Al Mubarak said.
    He added: “Now we have moved beyond the period of heavy investment that was required to make the club competitive again

    Point of order, when were Man City ever competitive?

  • WalterBroeckx

    The word ‘again’ is clearly not at its place in that sentence, Will 😉

  • GoingGoingGooner

    There is a difference between critique and criticism.

  • WalterBroeckx

    By the way great article TommieGun.

    And some great comments as well!

    A real civilised comment section. lets hope for a win tonight so the site will not get spoiled again by the usual suspects coming on here, throw in a one liner, get a strong reaction from regular Untolders, and then the abuse can start.

    I think it is great to debate in the way we have done today (and most of the time…)

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Wenger out! 🙂

  • TommieGun

    Thanks everybody for the comments, which helped develop the debate I inteded to start…

    Re the figures Kev/Jambug, I think that financials are THE no. 1 contributory factor to everything that happens in world football. Rich clubs do better. Period [with very few irregularities (Atletico Madrid, Dortmund of 3 years ago)].

    So for Arsenal to do so amazingly well, year in year out, with such a small budget, is a miracle. For sure we are the best “value for money” team in world football.

    BTW I would love to see the reverse figure sheet, i.e. – which team is the least value for money? Who spent the most and in comparison got the worst results in the last 5-7 year period?

    Let’s kick some saint ass today…

  • jambug,

    Your comment @ 4.19pm kinda remind me of the debate at the end of last season on why Arsenal lost the league with many insisting that it was due to our losses to the Top3. The net point was a big deal for the proponents of the meme as in if we had beaten those teams, we would not just have gained 3 points, we would have denied them of 3 points. But when the proponents of the idea – that our lost points to the lower teams had more effect – bring up Chelsea who took the maximum 12 points from the top 2, we get told it was because they did not do well enough against the lower teams.

    Ah!

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    “BTW I would love to see the reverse figure sheet, i.e. – which team is the least value for money?”

    Back in late October Walter did a brilliant article detailing points gained per pound spent.

    Arsenal where, as you may of expected, top of that table at 44.1 points per pound spent or £22,697 per point.

    Man City where, as you may of expected bottom with 1.2 points per pound spent or a cost of…………… £857,143 per point.

    I hope that goes some way to answering your question.

  • jambug

    Bootoomee

    Double talk to suit there rants.

    The truth is it’s the only way they can refute irrefutable facts !!

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    Perhaps Walter can guide to the article.

  • Rich

    Superb article.

    Was in process of what was on track to be a long response to it when computer crashed on me, so I’ll just have to leave it at great, and even thanks (though I normally think that sort of thing is going too far)

    Oh,. and I’ll just have to try and shoehorn all the thoughts it prompted into some less suitable, later piece on UA.

  • John L

    @ Tommie Gun,

    are you based state-side? i live in south lake tahoe…would be great to ride with a fellow gooner! if you were ever in the area….

  • Rich

    oH, and hope you all saw the little update from David Conn just now. City’s spending since 2008 now up to 1.152 billion.

    Now, considering the fact the Mail’s main football man suggested today ffp is unfair on likes of Chelsea, and that it will be a near impossibility for them to win titles against rivals who can generate,say, 5-10 pc more income, shouldn’t that mean that that same fellow and his like-minded colleagues should have been saying during this last decade that it would be a near impossibility for us to win titles, and we are doing well to be in with a shout even?

    Yep, if they weren’t such selective swines, that is.

  • Rich

    Jambug, I see you got there before me on the point I was trying to make. What you mention from press would be astonishingly inconsistent and hypocritical behavior, if they still had the power to astonish.

    ‘-In one breath they scream ‘Spend The Fucking Money’, because spending loads of money will enable us to win things.

    -In the next breath they decree that Chelsea and City spending loads of money has had nothing to do with THEM winning things.’

  • Notoverthehill

    The Arsenal have a cannon, so I am curious why someone has chosen a tommy-gun. LOL!

    A good analogy, except the judge has been omitted? The summing-up!

    People have their opinions, based on their observations, discussions, debates and arguments, one must assume.

    Then the question is, why are there differences in opinions. Too many opinions, seem to be based on ignoring an essential fact(s) of the issue under discussion?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ TommieGun – a great article and some great response from the regulars . Well done and very well argued by most .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Duncan and Murphy wanted a drink real bad , but they barely had a penny between them. Murphy had an idea .He bought a large sausage . They went into a pub and ordered 4 drinks each.
    Murphy said , ” Don’t worry , I have a plan .I’ll stick the sausage through my zipper and you go on your knees and put it in your mouth .The bartender will get mad and he will throw us out .”
    They did exactly that, and sure enough , the bartender threw them out of the pub. They then went from pub to pub, had free drinks , and each time , they were thrown out.
    By the time they got to the 10th pub , Duncan said ,” I can’t do this anymore , I ‘m drunk and my knees are killing me .”
    Murphy replied, ‘ How do you think I feel …I can’t even remember at which pub I lost the sausage !”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    You AKBs KNOW that this tale is ‘dedicated ‘ to those two clowns who come on here and claim that only those who ‘spend some fucking money ‘ to watch Arsenal are ‘true’ fans ! Have the rest of us been excommunicated ?
    As for me I truly wonder who is the ‘Duncan’ and who is the ‘Murphy ‘. Or should that be whom ?
    Do they often switch positions ? Do they ‘swing’ both ways? Would we care ?
    Did Duncan realise that the ‘sausage’ was different in size , texture and in taste ? Did he care ?
    Did Murphy care that the sausage was gone and he had to ‘put out’ ? Did he mind ? Or did he do it on purpose ? Did he lie ?
    Are they happy with their lot ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    What the Fire Chief Said! Priceless!
    For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
    For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

    In South Los Angeles , a 4-plex home was destroyed by a fire.

    A ( xyz )family of six, all welfare recipients and gang members, lived on the first floor. They died.

    An (abc) group of seven welfare cheats, all illegally in the country from afar , lived on the second floor. They, too, all perished.

    Six LA, (mno) , gang bangers & ex-cons lived on the 3rd floor. They, too, died.

    A Chinese couple lived on the top floor. The couple survived the fire.

    Three prominent members of the said communities were furious ! They flew into LA and met with the fire chief. On camera, they loudly demanded to know why only the (xyz ),(abc) and (mno) all died in the fire and why only the Chinese couple lived?

    The Fire Chief said, “They were at work.”

  • TommieGun

    Brickfields the sausage joke is a gem !

    Reminds me of the story of Duncan’s brother who went into a pub, and wanted a beer despite not having any money. He ordered a pint of Stella, then another one and another one … after 10 pints, when the bartender requested payment, Duncan’s brother started swearing and saying that he’s not paying and fuck this and fuck that… anyway, the bartender and the bouncer threw him out into the alley, and called a few gay homeless people that usually hang around that alley to have a bit of fun with the non-paying customer.

    That ritual repeated itself for 5 days in a row.

    In the sixth day, Duncan’s brother enters the pub and orders a pint of Carlsberg.

    “What is it, mate? You don’t fancy Stella no more?” Asked the bartender.
    “I love Stella, but lately it gives me the worst ass pain ever”, replied Duncan’s brother.

  • Mike

    Nice post TommieG. However, I can’t accept the word of a lawyer as always being valid.

    My wife heads a clinical negligence and personal injury department and conseqeuently assures me that there is no such thing as an accident since fault, in what ever proportion, has to lie somewhere. I wholeheartedly dispute that premise given the existence of Mike Riley ……………

    Having said that, I guess the fault lies entirely with his parents 🙂