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The red badge of courage

THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE……Don McMahon

I have seen so many bloggers writing sarcastic and demeaning comments about the Club, the players and particularly the manager over the years I have followed AFC… and one thing they all seem to have in common is that they are totally blind to one side of the Arsenal.  A side of the Arsenal that in fact most people seem to ignore.

We all know that the Gunners have consistently dominated the injury league for well over five years running, have failed to win the EPL for 10 years, have never won the CL and so on. We have been called chokers, also-rans, Barcelona-light, boys not men, fragile, impotent, foreigners, etc. We also know that we have been accused of variously lacking British ¨steel¨, players like beasts, toughness, determination, ambition, a will to win, etc. Well here are some facts to counter those accusations:

In recent years Arsenal have had three players very seriously injured by thugs in the EPL. We have had 7 players with recurring injuries, whose careers have been considerably shortened by these same thugs, We currently have six players, five of them starters, who are recovering from medium to long-term injuries, most of which were caused by these thugs.

To explore this further, I convinced a retired FIFA referee assessor, instructor and former professional league referee appointer to review the famous match between AFC and Manchester United, where our 49 unbeaten run ended. After watching Riley’s performance, he stood up and said that had he been the head of the PGMOL, Riley’s EPL and FIFA career would have ended that day. I also asked him to watch a few more games where the Arsenal had serious injuries and decisions go against them and he said, and I quote his exact words, ¨there is something rotten in Denmark!¨

My point is that the Arsenal have shown the following qualities, despite facing almost insurmountable odds, since 2005:

1) Their ability to nurture and support their players regardless of their issues or situation.

2) Their loyalty to all their players, past or present, despite some very bad press about that.

3) Their respect for their players and their deference to their wishes, even if it goes counter to the club’s immediate interests.

4) The players’ almost uniformly shared admiration and respect for Mr.Wenger, which is equally reciprocated.

5) The ability to put together strings of victories that take them over the top each season despite being financially out-muscled by the oilers and sugar-daddy toy clubs.

6) The courage, commitment and caring for the club, the fans and their teammates which, despite setbacks, allows them to pick themselves up and perform miracles.

7) The engagement to play Wengerball against teams whose sole intent seems to be to kick them off the park, and still win a lot more often than they lose or draw.

8) The mental and emotional strength to continue believing that they can win, regardless of their previous results. The players truly believe, like Wenger himself, that they are as good as their next match.

9) The stability and adaptability to welcome constant new faces into their lineup, season after season, and still perform at a very high level. 17 straight years in the CL and the top four, as well as the recent FA and Charity shield victories testify to this.

10) The pleasure and enjoyment our players seem to experience playing with their fellow Gunners and the team spirit they display week in and week out, despite the best efforts of the media, the moaners and groaners and the officials.

11) Their determination to fight to the end, particularly this season, and to hold onto a lead whenever possible.

12) Their self-control on the pitch despite officials routinely ignoring serious fouls against our players….how many of us would tolerate that depth of abuse?

So the next time the serpent slithers onto UA and starts delivering  the repetitive meme about Wenger out and AFC being ¨soft¨ or whatever, lets remind them that this so-called team of pussies has done far more with far less than any other team in the EPL. AFC deserve to wear their red badge of courage more than any other team in the EPL and will continue to exceed all expectations, to the great dissatisfaction of the media, their critics and even some of their so-called supporters.

Playing for Arsenal is a very special experience and often raises up the players’ career and skills, and when the player moves on, it is rare that they ever achieve those heights again. Many ex-players state that their worst error was to leave the Arsenal for ¨greener¨ pastures.

——————-

Classic Untold

Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.  At last, the truth

98.4% of all referee decisions are correct – and the press believe them

Not to mention…

The Untold Index, and the Arsenal History Society blog

 

47 comments to The red badge of courage

  • Goonermikey

    Great article.

    Perhaps you should try and convince your retired FIFA friend to write a dossier and present to the media for their thoughts (assuming the media are capable of independent thought of course!).

  • walter

    Great article, thanks for that.
    I think it is good to be reminded about all of that every once in a while, so you don’t get dragged down by other opinions. (less well thought through)

  • Will

    This was written because I had the audacity to say we are soft because we lost more second ball than we win?

  • TommieGun

    I Don’t like this article one bit. I have some disagreement with at least half of the items on the list, and least of all with the last paragraph about serpents.

  • RedandDread

    Appreciated and amidst all the vitriol aimed at the club, players, BoD, manager it’s always good to point out why we have struggled to some degree to win much in the last decade. I think most Gooners, pundits, media etc acknowledge the good that Arsenal do & stand for but at the end of the day football is a results business and Arsenal under Arsene in the last decade have not been providing the results when it mattered most.

    All we want is our club to be able to defend properly without making a complete cock-up of it. We want to see progress on the field backed up by tangible achievements-like trophies, something which a club the size of Arsenal should be able to achieve more consistently than we have recently.

    Also, we resent being systematically raped by the big boys each year for the last 6 years. WE act like we’re the underprivileged kid on the block, ever so happy to be invited to the party. Arsenal are the 5th richest football club in the world!

  • GoonerDave

    RedandDread-
    I was as frustrated as anyone when we were selling players to balance the books. But we seem to be over that now, even spending big too.
    But yes, our defending is poor at times and along with injuries, is a regular contributor to our downfall. Better organisation when we don’t have the ball combined with more pressing would cost nothing and make a difference.
    Even though we have had a poor start to the season, we should be positive to an extent because Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey etc. should all be back.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Things I DO NOT WANT:
    -A sugar-daddy from Kazakhstan (Usmanov)
    -A sugar-daddy from Russia (Roman)
    -A sugar-daddy from anywhere (Henry)
    -Players who act like trolls (RVP, Song, Nasri)
    -Fans who keep moaning about spending more money
    -Supporters who do not really support
    -Managers who, by allowing the media to sell more of their crap, have embraced being crap
    -Players who are instructed to go and challenge skilled players, even at the risk of major injury
    -Media sprouting crap (tony Gale, I am looking at your mega-ineptitude, with your moronic rants)

    Things I WANT:
    -An ethical manager
    -Football worth watching, at the risk of losing
    -Players who do not dive or try to deceive the officials
    -Players who are loyal to their manager because of his ethicality
    etc…

  • Mandy Dodd

    great article. There are the vocal critics, but a far larger, ever growing worldwide group of fans who appreciate the club, players and manager. And recognise what they are up against, which in some cases, descends into cheating, and criminality. Seeing clips of the worldwide reaction to that day in May was telling, the world if not a few in the UK love this great club.
    The critics are entitled to their opinions but are up against an overwhelming tide that will soon make them irrelevant to all except themselves and the media that use them. And they know it too, thats why so many voice a sense of being disenfranchised, the club no longer listens to them. Correct on that one.
    hilarious to read Jose’ hypocritical rant yesterday about an agenda against Chelsea of all teams. I hope the FA take appropriate action, but sadly, with Jose, they probably will not, he is this seasons Fergie in terms of the hold he has on the media and those who run the game.
    They will probably just give Chelsea dodgy pens in the next few games, thats the way things work in the Premier League

  • Mandy Dodd

    ReadandDread, fair enough, we have had some difficult times, but appear to be shifting out of them. Yes, there have been times when defending has needed improving, and yes, selling our finest to rivals has caused damage to the club. But hopefully, that is over unless there is something unforseen around the corner.
    Not sure if we are 5th richest club in the world, depends what you mean by rich, but even if we are, we compete in a league with 3 who are certainly better funded and I would say richer, so we are the much maligned 4th place in England based on finance currently.

  • RedandDread

    I’m way more positive now than at anytime since the win over City in the Charity Shield but want to see our team win against one of the big boys so that they can prove to themselves, the fans, the manager that they have what it takes to become champions. Arsenal aren’t in it to make up the numbers-you don’t buy Ozil & Alexis to make up the numbers, you buy them to help you to win trophies and challenge at the very top.

  • jonestown

    I have gotten very tired and bored of the incessant insidious media chatter regarding my Arsenal. Always pleased to read something positive and objective but as well written as the article is I never think it a good idea to overplay the victim mentality.

    RedandDread: You and many others need to understand the difference between wealth and value. As a business AFC are ranked 5th in terms of value, not wealth. This reflects the market view of AFC as an business investment, around a £1B. And, like it or not, Wenger is one of the chief architects of this huge rise in market value over the past 20 years – we are running a sustainable business. CFC and MC are worth less as businesses but have huge personal wealth underpinning the clubs’ dealings. Abramovich’s personal wealth is many times greater than the total value of our business – he could buy (depending on which assessment of his personal wealth you care to use) AFC a dozen times over and more. The Mansour clan and extended family are reputedly worth £1,000,000,000,000 (trillion). To say we are not in the same financial ball-park with MC and CFC is a colossal understatement.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Keep the faith 2015 is our year!

    COYG

  • bjtgooner

    A good article Don, and I like the following phrase: –

    “Playing for Arsenal is a very special experience and often raises up the players’ career and skills,”

    To continue that theme, Arsenal has become a special club, with a very special manager. The club has revolutionized how football is played and changed the fan expectation of what to expect when Arsenal take to the field.

    The club have gone through lean times, an enforced austerity through investing in the stadium to help secure future income and success – during that time the supporters have backed the club through good times and bad – apart from the reprehensible AAAAs.

    Now that this special club is coming out of austerity we will be better able to compete with the classless super rich.

  • proudkev

    First of all I would like to take this opportunity to say that I hope everyone on Untold had a very good Christmas. The fact we have now taken 13 points from the 15 on offer is impressive.

    I have ear a few articles on here and would like to say that the reason I visit I’d because of the positive support of the club. I like the fact that evidence is used to support an opinion and that ultimately this is a site that ‘supports’ the club I love. On ‘that’ blog, which I read occasionally to see the angle the ‘opposition’ are coming from, it is clear they are not all Arsenal fans. There are lots of fake Gooners on there, Chelsea and Tottenham fans. The fact they are able to operate and fool the regular posters on a consistent basis says it all. Before the West Ham game some posters on their were hoping West Ham would win. There was also a number of posts that claimed Harry Kane, Adabayor and Saldado were better than all the arsenal strikers. This is what is happening to this great club of ours. We have a guy writing a blog that cares more about the number of clicks for the advertisement income than he does the club. In his pre-game write up the blog writer claimed we should target Jenkinson! He didn’t even know he could not play.

    Untold is different. The blog writers know their stuff. Tony has a great knowledge of the club and its history, as too does Walter. The other contributors too do not make common mistakes regarding the dates of games, player availability and on some cases whether home or away. The writer of ‘that’ blog makes this errors on a regular basis.

    Untold is for genuine Gooners who appreciate what the club under Wenger has achieved. They understand the history of the club and respect the club.

    I do not see the ‘c’ word appearing on here, on ‘that’ blog it is used regularly.

    Thank you to Untold for providing those of us frustrated by the constant stream of negativity, with a home to share our love for the club.

    Best wishes for 2015 to everyone.

    Kev

  • RedandDread

    @ Don-this ain’t fairytale land mate. Arsenal’s is a special a club (and we’re lucky to be fans) as a few others are also, but we live in a world of “professional” football and big business. What you’ve written is lovely and cuddly and nice but if you think half of what you have written is true then I’ve some land in Florida to sell you. You’re talking about some of the wealthiest, professional athletes in the world doing their job, a job that happens to be one of the greatest professions out there.

  • Mandy Dodd

    a good Xmas Proudkev, made all the better by the team giving it all and getting results, hope you had the same.
    Agree, those sites are full of sleepers, the clubs you mention, and a few Utd as well. Hilarious about the Spurs strikers. Doesnt seem so long since they were lining up proclaiming Arry a better manager than Wenger, and embarassing themselves over Levy, the way they do now with Jose.
    You see the most bizarre things on these sites, I remember one calling for Mr Kronke to be erm sacked and replaced by Mr Usmanov. Then there was the ANR campaign to have Owen Coyle replace Wenger, latched onto with gusto by many on those sites. Then, the coveting of the latterday Bobby Moore, namely Chris Samba. The desire to have Tony Adams managing the club.
    Shouldnt go on those sites, but they do make me laugh
    The strange thing is, most of the more sentient Spurs fans I have met respect our manager, but guess we cannot account for bored kids confined to their rooms by overprotective parents and quite possibly their own lack of fitness to do much else. Sorry, shouldnt stereotype trolls, they have rights too!

  • bob mac

    Great article…………………..keep them coming.

  • omgarsenal

    Will ….don’t flatter yourself…..nobody listens to you!
    Tommie Gun……….please elaborate on your disagreements with my article so we can have an intelligent debate, or better still write a counter-article outlining your version of the facts…that is what UA is all about.
    RedandDread……I know that these gunners get paid an enormous amount to play the game they love,BUT if they do so only for the money, then as my article points out, they wouldn’t care a damn about anything other than their paychecks….like so many ex-players who left us for ¨greener¨ pastures.

  • nicky

    Don,
    A masterpiece of a post which should persuade many of the more fickle of followers of our great Club, to a period of quiet circumspection.

  • Jammy J

    Ive now seen young age being blamed for both the idiots who want rid of Wenger and also the people that never fault Arsenal/Arsene. So very ridiculous and such a cop-out to use someones age as an insult or a reason to be insulting them. Idiots are idiots regardless of age.

    And thanks for the great article! Cant say it didnt warm the cockles of my heart reading it.

  • Will

    omgarsenal
    December 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm
    Will ….don’t flatter yourself…..nobody listens to you!

    ooohhh get you sailor.

  • Quincy

    It’s pretty easy to check whether Arsenal is the fifth richest club in the world as some people claim, which they probably just sucked out of their thumb
    http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/sports-business-group/deloitte-uk-deloitte-football-money-league-summary-2014.pdf

    Arsenal is in fact the 8th richest club in the world, and 4th richest in the league, behind, of course, Chelsea, Man City and Man U.

  • Quincy

    It’s a pity your friend, Don, won’t come out publicly with what he sees. The tide is turning against football authorities, I think, with FIFA’s Garcia scandal, and more and more managers and journalists talking about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. Could you at least get him to do some articles for Untold, or some referee reviews?

  • TommieGun

    Thanks Don. I will do that.

    But first I must say that my biggest problem is that your points are not a reply to the “going soft” allegation. I can agree for arguments’ sake that all of your points are valid (and I will try to challenge a few) – it doesnt change from the fact that Arsenal could have gone soft(er) according to someone’s view, and that view could be substantiated. The reply should be, that Arsenal might have gone soft, but nevertheless, should be applauded. I agree with that in any event (regardless of the “going soft” thing).

    However, a counter-reply would be, that for all the merited applause, there is no reason for Arsenal to toughen up, especially when much lesser teams, talent and skill wise, find it easier to play tougher than Arsenal.

    Second, your points are not connected in a cause and effect relationship to “going soft”. How can point no. 4 (admiration to Wenger) influence the players’ softness or hardness?

    I read your article as “all the good things about Arsenal” – to which I can agree with. I fail to see the connection between that and the red badge of courage argument.

    Now to the points (which is not as important as the paragraphs above) –

    1) Their ability to nurture and support their players regardless of their issues or situation. – Agree

    2) Their loyalty to all their players, past or present, despite some very bad press about that. – Disagree, unless we disagree on what counts as disloyalty.

    Cavaet – I don’t believe in loyalty between clubs and players, and vice versa. A football club is an occupation. Needless to say, that breaching the perceived fiduciary duty against your own employer (i.e. “selling” a match; or revealing a patent for someone who works for a tech company) – is of course disloyal.

    But choosing to end your employment with your employer in a market that has no real contractual expiration date for employment agreements (I’m saying “real” because in real life, you file a claim when someone breached a contract – and in the football world, I don’t recall a club suing a player or another club for breach of the employment contract).

    But if I have to go to what I presume you call loyalty, then for example letting Pires and Freddie go was not very loyal. My conclusion is based on the fact that the “loyalty” from player to club is invoked when the club wants to keep the player, and the player wants to leave, and eventually leaves. So when a player wants to extend his stay, and the clubs declines or only offers a downgraded contract – it should be regarded in the same way.

    3) Their respect for their players and their deference to their wishes, even if it goes counter to the club’s immediate interests. – see above. Add to that, I am presuming that some players who did not want to be loaned out, for example, were in fact loaned even though it wasn’t their wish. If we are talking about actual playing – players who were played out of their favorite position are also an example. However my intial point is that the players are employees, and I am not really concerned about their wishes. Arsene is the boss, in he will decide if a player is going out on a loan, or play left midfield. If a player is not happy, then in my opinion it’s their problem.

    4) The players’ almost uniformly shared admiration and respect for Mr.Wenger, which is equally reciprocated. – agree.

    5) The ability to put together strings of victories that take them over the top each season despite being financially out-muscled by the oilers and sugar-daddy toy clubs. – agree. However, a reply to this point is that Arsenal should be good enough to be in the top without those last-gasp victories. An example would be that Arsenal are good enough to win against sides like Spurs this year at home, and that dropping 2 points against them contributed to the neccessity to work out miracles in April.

    6) The courage, commitment and caring for the club, the fans and their teammates which, despite setbacks, allows them to pick themselves up and perform miracles. – I sadly, sadly disagree. I think that especially this season, quite a few performances have shown the exact opposite. It seems like we are totally over that mental period, and back to being badasses (YEAH!) but we had a period where it somehow made sense for us to concede equalizing goals in a very un-commited, irresponsible manner that is not fitting for our players.

    7) The engagement to play Wengerball against teams whose sole intent seems to be to kick them off the park, and still win a lot more often than they lose or draw. – agree

    8) The mental and emotional strength to continue believing that they can win, regardless of their previous results. The players truly believe, like Wenger himself, that they are as good as their next match. – partly disagree, see my reply to point no. 6

    9) The stability and adaptability to welcome constant new faces into their lineup, season after season, and still perform at a very high level. 17 straight years in the CL and the top four, as well as the recent FA and Charity shield victories testify to this. – agree

    10) The pleasure and enjoyment our players seem to experience playing with their fellow Gunners and the team spirit they display week in and week out, despite the best efforts of the media, the moaners and groaners and the officials. – agree

    11) Their determination to fight to the end, particularly this season, and to hold onto a lead whenever possible. – disagree. See point 6.

    12) Their self-control on the pitch despite officials routinely ignoring serious fouls against our players….how many of us would tolerate that depth of abuse? – agree.

    And like I said, I didn’t like the last paragraph because I think it doesn’t help tighten the lines and get everybody on board. I kindly refer you to my 12:31 post in the “Westham Arsenal – not for the faint of hearted” thread.

    Thank you.

  • omgarsenal

    Quincy….I asked him to get more involved but he respects the unwritten rule of retired officials….one doesn’t publicly criticize one’s colleagues while you are active and especially after you retire. Walter and his elves review referee performances here as part of a program of assessing in parallel with the PGMOL fairytales, officials performance over a long period of time (3-4 years?) to see if patterns develop. so any criticism is based on actual facts and performances, NOT personal opinion or jaundiced parochialism.
    I have suggested that he become a ghost writer and I will publish his articles under a pseudonym and he said he’d give it a thought…..but we will see.
    tony….can someone translate Will’s gibberish for me in his last comment,please? I’m not British and so unfamiliar with whatever he is trying to say….or not say.
    Redanddread which half of which I have written seems spurious (dubious/doubtful/questionable) to you…I can back everything up with concrete and recurring examples, but I need to know what you see as being wrong. By the way I already have some land in Florida…much warmer there than here right now so who wouldn’t want to buy land there?

  • omgarsenal

    Thanks for the rational and sincere reply TommieGun. It is evident that we see the players’ behaviour and motivation in a rather different light since the season began. I agree that there have been some big disappointments and overall poor performances this season, like every season since 2005 but the vast majority of performances, particularly lately, have really shown the character and commitment I claim in my article. Now that is resilience and loyalty to the Wenger’s goals and objectives and to the motto of our Club….by the way, loyalty for me can best be represented by what the players themselves do and say, and it seems universally evident that they hold Wenger and the Club in high regard. The doing and saying are part and parcel of the loyalty to the Arsenal ideal….and it is immediate, not at the end of the season or during the summer break that we see really see that engagement demonstrated.

  • jambug

    First of all I apolagise as this is a bit long winded but I wanted to try and put some flesh on the bones with regard to this ‘soft’ ‘Not Soft’ debate.

    One of the accusations is regarding winning the 2nd ball, which is obviously achieved by tackling, so I thought I’d look into some tackling stats to see how we fair.

    Arsenal….87%
    QPR……..77%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….72%
    Liverpool..72%
    A-DREW

    Arsenal….65%
    Newcastle..73%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….79%
    Galatas….62%
    A-WON

    Arsenal….64%
    Stoke……70%
    A-LOST

    Arsenal….71%
    Sotton…..91%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….60%
    Wba……..73%
    A-WON

    Arsenal….90%
    Dort…….70%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….74%
    Man U……81%
    H-LOST

    Arsenal….88%
    Swansea….73%
    A-LOST

    Arsenal….80%
    Anderl’c…64%
    H-DREW

    Arsenal….80%
    Burnley….81%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….68%
    Sund’d…..76%
    A-WON

    Arsenal….73%
    Anderl’c…79%
    A-WON

    Arsenal….86%
    Hull…….70%
    H-DREW

    Arsenal….68%
    Chelsea….69%
    A-LOST

    Arsenal….73%
    Gal’ry…..89%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….95%
    Spurs……65%
    H-DREW

    Arsenal….80%
    Sotton…..73%
    H-LOST

    Arsenal….71%
    A.Villa….92%
    A-WON

    Arsenal….58%
    Dort…….87%
    A-LOST

    Arsenal….74%
    Man City…60%
    H-DREW

    Arsenal….78%
    Leic…….82%
    A-DREW

    Arsenal….80%
    Besik……71%
    H-WON

    Arsenal….73%
    Everton….79%
    A-DREW

    Arsenal….88%
    Besik……81%
    A-DREW

    Arsenal….77%
    C.Palace…70%
    H-Won

    Average % Tackles won per game:

    Arsenal….76%
    Others…..75%

    Other stats:

    Out of the 27 games Arsenal had at least equal or more % tackles won in 13.

    Out of those 13 Arsenal: Won 5 Drew 6 Lost 2

    Out of the 27 games Arsenal had less % tackles won in 14.

    Out of those 14 Arsenal: Won 8 Drew 2 Lost 4

    What do these statistics show us?

    -Our average ability to win tackles is almost exactly equal to the average of everyone we have played.

    -Winning tackles is NOT the be all and end all as we actually won more games with LESS % tackles won than we did with MORE % tackles won.

    -The quality of the opposition seems to be pretty irrelevant as we had good stats against the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs but failed to win one of those games, whilst we where out tackled by the likes of Newcastle, WBA, Burnley, Villa and Sunderland, but we WON all those games.

    I did this to prove we are not a ‘soft’ touch. I believe these stats go at least some way to prove that as surely tackling, and winning or losing tackles, is at least an indication of a teams strength.

    We seem to be pretty average and NOT the soft touch some people suggest, but more importantly 5 of tackles won doesn’t seem to actually have any direct impact on the result.

    Possibly other things such as:

    -Possession

    -Territorial dominance

    -Shots

    -Transition

    Etc. etc.

    But that’s for another day.

    NB: All stats courtesy of Arsenal.com.

  • jambug

    Corr:

    We seem to be pretty average and NOT the soft touch some people suggest, but more importantly % of tackles won doesn’t seem to actually have any direct impact on the result.

  • Gord

    Jambug, where are you getting that data? Remember that 38,717 (or something like that) number of Webb’s? All of those tackles are points that need to be investigated.

    Thanks for mentioning that data.

  • jambug

    Gord

    The stats are from Arsenal.Com

    Each match has a stats centre and one of the stats shows what % of the tackles Arsenal made that they won. They do the same for the opposition.

    So for example, in the Chelsea game, Arsenal won 68% of the tackles they put in. Chelsea won 69% of the tackles they put in.

  • Gord

    Thanks. I was hoping it was data that was available for all teams/games, not just the games Arsenal was in. But it is good for me to know that there is Arsenal data there.

  • Sleekwhale

    I think facts are facts regardless of what anyone thinks. Sometimes I wish I had read the articles before other ideas start flooding in from other people’s comments, some of which make a good article look somewhat mushy. But a great article I must say, coz I have been a witness to almost all of it – loyalty, passion, determination and sadness when things don’t go the way they wanted and the zeal to get it right next time – I still believe every arsenal fan should read untold.

  • Sleekwhale

    Wanted to imput that Deliottee’s (hoping I got the spelling right) ranking is based on a different premis when compared to Forbes. According to Forbes, arsenal are the 5th richest.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Yesterday watched Football Today on ESPN.

    A former player and a present pundit had something to say about Cesc yellow for simulation. And they talk about the hull game.

    As per them, Costa, Willian and Cahill dive is justifiable. It’s better than getting legs broken!!!!…..

    Where were they when Diaby, Eduardo, Ramsey, Sangna, Wilshere, Theo, Ozil got ‘nibbled’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Don , another very good article . Thank you. To most of the AKBs , it comes quite easily. But to the others ……..well it reminded me of this tale.

    At the end of the tax year, the IRS office sent an inspector to audit the books of a local hospital. While the IRS agent was checking the books he turned to the CFO of the hospital and said, “I notice you buy a lot of bandages. What do you do with the end of the roll when there’s too little left to be of any use?”

    ” Good question ,” noted the CFO. “We save them up and send them back to the bandage company and every now and then they send us a free box of bandages.”

    “Oh,” replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went, in his obnoxious way.

    IRS agent
    Like

    “What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what’s left over after setting a cast on a patient?”

    “Ah, yes,” replied the CFO, realizing that the inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question . “We save it and send it back to the manufacturer, and every now and then they send us a free package of plaster.”

    “I see,” replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all CFO. “Well,” he went on, “What do you do with all the leftover foreskins from the circumcisions you perform?”

    “Here, too, we do not waste,” answered the CFO. “What we do is save all the little foreskins and send them to the IRS Office, and about once a year they send us a complete dick.

  • TommieGun

    @ Don thanks a lot for your reply, it does make sense re the loyalty bit. I guess we will have to disagree about tiny issues but for me the most important thing regarding untold is to have intelligent and constructive discussions like this one.

    I might pick your brain re the aaa profile later on if you don’t mind …

    @ Jambug these are amazing stats. It actually seems we do a bit better in matches where we did not win the majority of the tackles (8 out of 14 v. 5 out of 13). There is nothing like evidence and research in order to disprove perceptions.

    I think that the ref bias must contribute to the “soft” perception. If we get the average amount of tackles won, and still the other team is perceived is “tougher” – then it could very much be that some of their fouls (unjustly not called) are perceived as a legitimately “tough” action (where it should actually be regarded as illegal).

  • Will

    I give up.

  • jambug

    Will

    About time.

    Nothing like good hard facts to put someone off who just has a misguided perception .

  • jambug

    Will

    Thinking about it, rather than just ‘giving up’, do what I did, search for some statistics to back your argument.

    I actually tried to find stats for every PL team over the season so far.

    It may even show that Arsenals average tackle success rate of 76% is after all not that good.

    The 75% average for the other teams is obviously just against us, so may vary widely when not playing us.

    I mean IF we ARE soft, winning 75% of tackles against us may be too high an average because after all we are ‘soft’ and by definition I would of thought ‘easy’ to tackle. No?

    Anyway, rather than throwing your arms in the air because I could be bothered to track down, collate, and reproduce statistics to back my argument, why not try it yourself. After all, that’s what we try to do here on UA. Back our ‘feelings’ ‘suspicions’ ‘accusations’ etc. with some statistics or facts, if at all possible.

    Try it yourself, it may even support your argument.

    Just repeating your ‘opinion’ (of which of course you are utterly entitled) that, Arsenal are soft, Arsenal are soft, Arsenal are soft, time and time again simply holds no weight at all.

  • Will

    Jambug, I am giving up because you and your like just don’t understand second ball.

    This is a pretty good site but the far right Wenger is Arsenal nazi’s like you are killing it slowly.

    There is no debate in your eyes, if you question Wenger or the players, you are not a true Arsenal fan. That is so sad.

  • Pete

    Will – I’ve followed this debate from afar.

    Can you please define specifically what you mean by “[winning the] 2nd ball” and how/why Arsenal are deficient at it? What should they be doing differently?

    I take a lot of interest in tactics, particularly defensive tactics (i.e. how to play when your team does not have the ball), and am genuinely interested. I recall McLintock (?) saying, in the context of the 71 double, how because the centre backs were not the tallest they focused on winning the second ball. I also noted several observations on Saturday’s game that, due to the difficulty of snuffing out Carroll on the first ball, they focused on the 2nd ball (one of the advantages of the Flamini/Coquelin combo). But this, I think, is at variance to your perception?

    Unfortunately, I only saw the last 35 minutes on a very bad stream so didn’t see enough to offer a valid comment. My main memory of that period is that we looked like scoring every time we broke!

  • Will

    Ok Pete, what I mean by second ball is exactly that but for me, it is more when a tackle is made and the ball pops out, we are slow to get the ball, we in my opinion, lose too many of these second challenges where the ball is bouncing around.

    I find we are too hesitant (hence my soft accusation) in sticking the foot in to win the ball back. We tend to back off, let the opposition regain the ball and try to win it from there.

    It just annoys me because if you win second ball like that, within one quick pass, you can be at the heart of the opponents within seconds.

  • jambug

    Will

    Of course I know what the ‘2nd ball is’. As I keep telling you, I don’t agree with you.

    It seems you cannot comprehend the meaning of ‘disagreement’

    First off you accused me of not allowing you an opinion because I disagreed with you.

    Now you accuse me of not understanding what you are saying, again because I don’t agree with you.

    Get it into your head. I completely understand what you are saying but I completely disagree.

    I have at least attempted to supply some statistics to back my argument. You on the other hand continue just to air your opinion, which is fine, but as I keep saying, I disagree.

    Find some stats to back yourself, if you do we can continue a debate, but in the mean time stop accusing people of not allowing you an opinion, or not understanding you, because that’s just a cop out.

  • Pete

    Will,

    OK – so your assertion is that we are not first to the loose ball enough when we are defending? I hadn’t particularly noticed this but will watch out for it in upcoming games.

    It is possible that the team are instructed to retain shape rather than diving in and risking the opposition having a man over? It is one thing pressing high up the pitch when there is time to recover but less so in your own last 30?

    Anyway, will watch out for it.

  • Will

    Jambug, let’s leave it yeah? I agree that you are the self appointed guardian of what is a true Arsenal fan.

    Fuck sake, state an opinion and you get some keyboard fucking warrior on your back.

  • Menace

    My initial post was under the West Ham article but I was not able to connect to untold for 48 hours – I tweeted the issue to Walter.

    Will – the first part of your query needs little explanation. The players we have today are in many respects better than those with which we won so many trophies. The difference is the competition is better and the officiating consistently biased. Todays Arsenal players have to consider this bias and play within strict guidance to ensure minimal punishment from the officials & avoid injury. They avoid contact where possible and even when grabbed in choke holds avoid complaint lest they get punished for being caressed by an angel. The best player in English Football today has been tackled so badly, almost to the point of having his legs broken yet very little has been written in the press. Even our illustrious leader Wenger has bitten his lip more times than I can remember in order to evade the evil this game has now been governed by. Some may complain & others truthfully state their cases just to be fined and chastised for being honest.
    The officiating then was done by amateur referees & have since been organised into a secret society under Riley (sadly a cheating bastard of the worst order). The FA (like FIFA) have not changed much. They are still a racially select band of money grabbing old men.

    OMGArsenal – I love your article.
    Now let me express my opinion on what I think has happened in the last few years. We were not raped for players but certainly pillaged. The players were targetted by ‘bought’ retired ex Arsenal players who knew Wengers technology and set up. They sold their souls & assisted in approaching agents of contracted players, turning their heads with cash incentives. The players that went to City were all illegally approached and Wenger was forced to sell at best rather than lose on a free. Van Persie had sold his soul 3 years before his ‘little boy’ bullshit. Players like Sagna were decent enough to complete their contracts before defecting to the oiled group of ex Arsenal players.

    Lets not ignore the fact that Vieira is a major factor in the intelligence leak. He took with him several aspects of intellectual property from Arsenal & should be challenged in Law. Similarly when Cole left for the bags of silver, he took with him intellectual property that was used by Chelsea.

    Both these clubs have set up facilities & systems based on Arsenals intellectual property with external questionable funds.

    Whilst this was happening the FA got its officials (referees) into a manageable organisation & professionalised them. No longer were referees a school teacher or accountant but now they were professional Match Officials!! (albeit in a secret society under monopoly contract to the FA). The FA & Premier League are hand in glove with keeping the officiating away from the public. Open officiating demands that the communication between officials by technology be exactly that & broadcast. The communication is not even available to the teams as evidence following a match. Even aircraft black box information is made public – but not so in our football ‘specially designed crashes’. This includes the FIFA report – done so that it can be referred to but never being published makes it irrelevant.

  • RedandDread

    “Their self-control on the pitch despite officials routinely ignoring serious fouls against our players….how many of us would tolerate that depth of abuse?”

    You actually wrote this after “Handsome” Oliver Giroud getting his red card and subsequent 3 match ban (during an extremely congested fixture list). How funny and ironic.