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The Gooners who hate Arsenal



I was chatting with Kevin Perrett of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association before the Man City game at the  Toppled Bollard (courtesy of Billy the Dog) discussing this, that, and the rest of infinity, when talk turned to the seemingly growing number of Wenger deniers – the doom mongers, the catatrophists, the gloomy bastards who see disaster in every Arsenal attack.

“Where’s the defence?” they cry, as we get a corner.  “They’ll break and score from this!”   So it goes.

Kevin called them, the Gooners who Hate Arsenal – and I thought that a really insightful phrase, and it leads me to a consideration of what it is like to be such a person.  To be a supporter of the club, and yet to believe that the current operation of the club is hopeless and that disaster is always but a step away.

As Kevin said, you end up beating yourself up all the time.   For these people, the slogans at the start of Orwell’s “1984” are as relevant today as when he wrote it.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Wenger is not the Messiah.  He’s not even a naughty little boy.  He is the thing that drags the club down.  If only he would go, preferably with the catatrophist himself being asked to take over the hot seat, we would be ok.

They don’t normally call for the board to change, but they do want to change the team, removing six or seven of our prime first teamers, and replacing them with players whom they know (oh yes they really do know) are willing to leave their clubs, the clubs are willing to let them go, and who are willing to sign for us at a cost we can afford.

If it is ever pointed out to these good people that there could be a problem attracting some of the players wanted to replace our zombies and morons then they move into a WAR IS PEACE mode.  We have to go out and be bold to survive.

You do not win anything by being timid.  We must fight for what we want, and if that means taking risks and making sacrifices then that’s what is needed.  This club is in terminal decline, and if action is not forthcoming, we are all doomed.

The fact that we cannot compete with Chelsea and Man C without running the risk of ending up like Liverpool and Man U is ignored.  The notion that to beat the financial dopers you need subtle and carefully arranged tactics means nothing.  Even saying such things is pointless and shows the imbalanced view of this site.  We are free to give our opinions here, and we let others give their opinions, but in doing so we are harming the club.  FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

And just as in the land of Big Brother one would be tortured to death for even suggesting that the whole league might be corrupt, and that we are fighting corruption with honesty, the doom, gloom and catastrophe gang will just snort.  That’s Italy, Hungary, Hong Kong, Germany.  That’s not here.  and if it is, why aren’t we paying bribes too?

And then we get to the coup de gras.  These guys have never heard of Winston Smith (the hero of 1984).   Winstom Smith worked at the Times.  He went through old copies of the paper and re-wrote the news to make it fit what had actually happened.  (Incidentally this is why I have so often run the story of of the Times being duped into printing the piece about the non-existent player from Eastern Europe who was going to sign for Arsenal, but who never existed.  The real-life Times then copied 1984 and removed the piece from its web site).

Gooners who Hate Arsenal believe what they read in the press.  They believe that Arshavin slags off his colleagues, hates Wenger, hates the weather, hates driving, and didn’t know he would pay 50% tax.

They also presumably believe that some miracle happened to stop Cesc leaving last January, last summer, the January before, the summer before….  In fact they must have a hard time of it every August when they go watch the Emirates Cup and find that the players are still there.

But we’ve all laughed at them so often they have changed their tune a little of late, and now start their stories in which they repeat what was in the Mail or the Sun by saying, “I don’t know if this is true – I hope not – but have you read this…”   They then go on to quote the story, and then treat it as true, and blame Wenger for the fact that as a result the whole first team has just signed for Andorra.  We’re all, once again, doomed.

So we see it.  Cesc is going to leave, and of course once he goes Van Persie will decide that it is not worth staying.  Arshavin is half way out of the door, and Nasri will certainly follow.  Wilshire says he would sooner play in Bolton, Gallas is leaving, Clichy is going to Barca, and on and on.  In fact by making these statements, they make it all true.

Being a Gooner who Hates Arsenal is a sad state, leading to depression, hiding under the bed clothes, eating too much chocolate and hiding under the bed clothes and saying things twice (oh bugger).

Should we attack them, make fun of them or ignore them?

Either way, the sun is shining, I thought the use of quotes from “1984” was quite amusing in this piece, the Women’s team are even further ahead in the league as a result of yesterday’s games, my sixth grandchild was born on Thursday night and is named Percy (after Robin van according to me, but not according to my daughter) and he’s healthy, the youth team won the A league months back with 10 games to spare, we’re in the Champs League next season and Kevin said he’d read my book “Making the Arsenal” twice.  But for the catastrophists,

SMILING IS BETRAYAL.

God, it must be tough.

—————————-

Tony Attwood lives on the planet Qwirkgn, thinks playing the accordion is cool, and for a pint of beer will recite the poems of Lao Tzu   His book “Making the Arsenal” has been described as the “most insightful piece of writing concerning this football club the world has ever seen,” by Tony himself, and by one correspondent on this site as “Historical fiction on Acid.”

Back to the future

Back to the past

81 comments to The Gooners who hate Arsenal

  • Cesc

    this article needed to be written . thank you, much love.

  • johan

    as usual, a very good article.
    if only all of us (arsenal fans) were like you…
    can´t wait for the next one!!
    and congratulations for your grandchild!
    keep up the good work! and THANK YOU.

  • walter

    If smiling is betrayal, what is laughing loud??
    The door could be openend anytime now and I will be taking away by the secret police and my whole life will be removed. Maybe even my articles on this site should be removed. 😉
    1984, one of my favourites Tony. I even read it in my own language and in English, just to be sure how well he described some situations I can see now. A book that is so around us, is if one only want to see it. Well, in my country anyway.

    Apart from not Arsenal fans pretending to be gooners and joining in the D&G brigade I think a lot of those fans are blinded by what they see in the media. I always have told my children that if you take an article in a newspaper you can only believe 10 % of it.
    The word “free” when used with “free press” has nothing to do with the original meaning. They all have their (mostly) hidden agenda. Most of them want to see Arsenal fail and they will do anything to help if they can. And if this means inventing some story to get unrest in the team, they will do it.

    But apart from young children, adults should be aware of the bias against us in the media, newspapers and in punditland and we should just ignore them and not give them credibility.

    But helas, some fans do believe every word that is written and believe all the talk.

    We can only hope more people start to use their own brains instead of just adopting the (empty) brains that are being offered by the media.

    Did I say that I liked your article very much? I do now.

    BTW: I don’t know what to do about it. I think writing articles like you do is one of the ways of helping some people to think further than the news headline in the sun, or whatever…
    Even if you get with each article one fan who gets more insight it is all being worth the trouble.

  • es

    I think you’re mixing up “gooners who hate Arsenal” with “gooners with a penchant for the hugely stupid”.

    Remember, around one half of the population has an IQ of just two digits. Factor in the demographic and there you have your problem.

    These people don’t hate Arsenal, they’re just easily manipulated and lazy and don’t know what empirical means and don’t know what LCD means at least mathematically and have disconnected views on certain obsessions that their equally intellect-challenged mates support somewhere after the fourth pint and …

    Yet not quite all of them, just most.

  • Joe

    Nice of you to cut into your own fans like that.

    Share my view or be cast out!

    Just because other people may believe what they read or be more worried about things than you make them less of a fan? No it doesn’t you high and mighty bunch!

  • Aniruddh

    Do you consciously misspell Catastrophists, I remember someone else had pointed it out in an earlier post

  • EAC3

    On the money as always Mr Attwood……as in our everyday life we have become a nation of the “unsatisfied” with our attitudes guided and formed by the media….why be thankful for what you have when you can spend all your energy critisising and moaning about your own lot in life. The increase in numbers of the Emirates crowd compared with the old Highbury has added the “noveau” supporter who can afford to buy a season ticket as a fashion item not because they are Gunners or even football lovers. Arsenals business plan put in place when we builtthe new stadium and the residential property was and still is a sound and successful strategy….with the cash now starting to flow again AW will spend where necessary to strengthen the squad…whether he buys the super stars that the moaners want we shall have to wait and see!!

  • theo

    I agree good stuff tony. I couldnt have said it better

  • FinnGun

    is the wembley turf suffering from a “coup de grass”?

  • amit

    The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.
    — Mein Kempf

    this is what Hitler wrote in his autobiography when he was in prison…and this is what he employed when he came back to power…blinding people and we know the outcome…

    the above 2 paragraphs are a bit extreme, but the quote sums up a fact “if you don’t criticize and opine, you end up in dictatorship!!”

  • amit

    and now my frenz as usual people will call me an idiot, gooner who hates arsenal, not a true fan etc etc… so please go on 🙂

    just my point of view, for the love of arsenal!!

  • Haakinhoolah Cephas

    Good one! how I wish some lazy gooners back in Nigeria could read this – they just can’t see anything to do or say than criticize Wenger and his tactics! Yet the good work of the prof. is always there 4 all to see. Buy ‘this’, sell ‘that’ is what we always hear! If ‘this’ is bought and flops – Wenger, ‘that’ is sold and shines – Wenger. Let’s send him (Wenger) off and see if we would not begin to count our lost.

  • gs

    Great article as always Tony, sometimes I just hope more gooners would read your articles and see the reason in them.

    @Joe

    What is there to be worried about? Players are under contract, the team is improving, the club is paying off the debt from the stadium, everything seems to be going well.

    I can’t think of anything that would worry me. If people are worried just because we didn’t win any silverware, shouldn’t 19 other clubs be worried as well?

    Believing anything you read is simply foolish, unless you see clear evidence that substantiates the article. Bear in mind that there is always an agenda in any form of media – it’s just up to us to notice it and give it a good laugh. Sometimes though, we just believe what we want to, and I think that’s the point of the article here. We feel with our emotion and passion, discredit reason and evidence and just hope for the worst.

    As supporters, there’s nothing sadder than setting out not to believe in your club, not even giving any chance for a positive review of matters. Of course we want the club to win, but just because things are done in a different manner from other clubs, it does not mean it’s a failure.

    If anything, I’d say we are all sheep following the shepherd that is football culture. If everyone else says that the way forward is to spend and buy better players, we just assume that it is, due to the herd mentality, conveniently forgetting the failures of Leeds and Pompey in recent times, as well as the massive spending at Liverpool that has translated into nothing.

    Why can’t we just be patient and give our club a chance? Is winning really everything?

  • Gf60

    The knockers, catastrophists, D&Gers should also be exposed to Winston’s diary entry:
    “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.”

    It is so easy to be led by the nose…as Orwell also mentioned in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some (take a bow Tony) are more equal than others.”

  • gs

    @amit

    Let us not take things out of context – Hitler brought suffering to the whole of Europe through his aggressive policies.

    Wenger brought suffering to us all by bringing us an exciting football team that fought for the title till the last 3 games, securing champions league football for next season while paying off debts for the stadium so we don’t end up like other clubs in administration.

    To have an opinion is perfectly fine, as we are all supporters of the club and have an equal share in things. However, is it too much to ask to have constructive criticism rather than to call for a revolution like so many fans always do?

    We have to remember that a revolution is as bloody as a war can be, and it leads to a period of instability. By suggesting things like ‘sack Wenger, sack the players, we need to bring in David Villa, [insert name of player highlights watched on youtube], [insert name of player labelled ‘world-class’ in championship manager], etc’ aren’t we simply criticizing without offering viable alternatives?

    It’s strange that no one who criticizes the team ever says that perhaps they need to work on defending, corners, etc. to solve problems rather than just assuming that people don’t change and improve, and getting rid of them and bringing in new people is the answer. That’s just the easy way out. If you played in a team of friends and a friend was pulling the team down, do you get rid of that member? Or do you try to help that friend improve?

    Similarly, as professional as football is, I believe the club is doing the right thing, being run almost like a family rather than being simply professional.

  • tim

    @gs — Well said. Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  • walter

    Great comment GS. I think this is one of the most important things that most of us over here see and that others don’t want to see or are not patient enough to wait.
    The development of our own players is really enjoyable to watch. Yes it would have been nice to have won the title this year but maybe it would have been one year to soon. This year our youngsters have been growing up and have been outstanding when we were almost complete. We just lost 2 games, which we could and should have won and this cost us the title this year. But the attitude of our game against City was great to see. It was almost the same team that lost in the final 10 minutes against Wigan (just Song was on the field) and we gave nothing away.

  • well-endowed gooner

    I still support the Arsenal because they’re my football club. It hurts when it’s run ineffectively. Tony, instead of demeaning those of us who question Almighty Wenger, why can’t we talk about:

    1. the quality of our defending
    2. the reason for the persistence of Almunia and Fabianski in goal
    3. the apparent lack of fight in our last few games
    4. our horrible run of injuries, which happen to the same players, at the same times, for the same reasons
    5. why our stipulated 70% of transfer incomes and saved wages are spent on extending contracts on players who haven’t performed well on the pitch, instead of buying a couple of experienced players who could’ve contributed.

    Oh, I forget. You’re much too busy.

  • walter

    Well endowed gooner, I might not be Tony but still will give you a few answers:

    1. against city we had a gread defensive performance and I took this as the basis for an article which is underway
    2. Maybe there are no other keepers available for a reasanable price for the moment ?
    3. Maybe the players that we have left for the moment were down because of the defeat against Barcelona and S**s? Those things happen to young people.
    4.I can not answer you that but some of the injuries like Van Persie, Gibbs, Ramsey and Cesc was the result of bad tackles and there is nothing a manager can do about that.
    5. Do you know who was available in the last transfer periode and at what price? The times of buying people like slaves has ended some years back I think. Did players want to come? Or did they want to stay at their teams to make sure that their chances of going to the world cup was not in danger?

  • tim

    Off topic, but are you shitting me? Man Shitty, of all spoiled clubs, is petitioning to sign an emergency keeper?

    If this goes through, i’d imagine Aston Villa and tiny Totts will be in an uproar…

    Do you think the PL would’ve allowed us to sign an emergency centre-back in the past few weeks? Or an extra striker when both RvP and Bendtner went down, and Eduardo and Theo were off-and-on with injuries?

    Unbelievable. With that kind of wage bill!

  • amit

    @gs & rest:

    by my comment on hitler, i just meant we cannot turn a blind eye towards finding certain things which might not be right…anyways my point is:

    1. illogical criticism like making knee jerk reactions and asking wenger to leave every time we lose is wrong…apart from that when fans say throw out a player x or player y just because of 1 or 2 bad games is just outrageous…such type of criticism is really not good for the club…

    2. when i say point 1; we should also remember not to over optimise…its like der are many blogs who are out and critical…sometimes too much of it…as far as most articles written here are concerned, half of them are towards the other extreme..that is totally, out and out and fully optimistic…

    its like we have certain posts on ‘le grove’ on -ve spectrum and here articles are on other extreme that is +ve specturm…

  • They dont hate arsenal Toni they hate Wenger. And his and his annual sale of the future.

    Its happening Toni wether you like it or not. The arsene knows best brigade is shrinking with every sseason and the anti Wenger gruop is growing.

  • The Ebd will come before 2013. It will come when we iether drop from the top four, fail to win a trophy next season or MAN CITY/tOTTS go above us by progressing beyond us next season.

  • that should read end oops

  • Minesy

    100% agree …

    Apart from Arsenal, my other obsession is Depeche Mode who I have been following since 1982. Their official message board goes along the lines of “… the new album is rubbish, they don’t play the song I want live, I can’t get tickets, that member of the band shouldn’t be in the band, the old members of the band should be back in, everything that goes wrong for me is the personal fault of the band …”

    Maybe they migrate from on site to the next spreading the blame for their sad little lives to the rest of us …

    By the way, did you see that thing in the paper …

  • RVP

    @stubby224, are you serious or are you winding us up? If you hate Wenger then you must hate Arsenal because Wenger is Arsenal through and through.

    @WEG ‘I still support the Arsenal because they’re my football club. It hurts when it’s run ineffectively.’

    You must be nuts!!!

  • RVP

    The D&Gers remind me of the some of the Charlton fans who kicked Alan Curbishley out when they were finishin 10th in the Premiership!!! They were saying things like
    ‘He’s taken us as far as he can, we need a need a new manager, we need to spend more money.’
    I think they’re in the third Division now.
    Reading some of these blogs i sometimes think i’m reading the League upside down and we’re in 17th place not third.
    Walter and Tony great article and great blog, thank you.
    In Arsene we Trust

  • Paul C.

    Stubby – you are joking right? I mean, you are taking the piss, right? Really? I mean, we are having a season in which we are finishing 3rd, behind 2 clubs that have been able to spend far, far, far than us, and ahead of 3 clubs that have been able to spend far, far, far more than us, and you are honestly trying to tell us the end is near? We have the youngest squad of any of the top-6 and you are trying to tell us the end is near? We have better youngsters coming through than any of the top-6 and you are trying to tell us the end is near? We have more disposable cash all of a sudden (because our manager was intelligent with finances) than any club not named Manchester City and you are trying to tell us the end is near?

    You are not serious, right?

  • IncredibleG

    Lovely stuff Tony, the only way to crush the nonsense is to stay rational in the face of infuriating ignorance. I just wish all the folk who said they wouldn’t renew their season tickets without a trophy would hurry up about it. Who needs supporters that wouldn’t be there if the team got relegated? Isn’t fan short for fanatic anyway?!
    Also, congratulations to your genetic code for its continuing effectiveness and apparant desirability, you dog.

  • Paul C.

    Well-Endowed – I will take a stab at thsoe questions:

    1. The quality of our defending. Very few people on these boards have tried to defend our defending recently. The manager himself has said it needs to be improved. Djourou’s injury cost us, and for those who say we should signed a replacement, the news of Djourou’s season-ending injury came two days before the end of the transfer window. No chance to sign anyone. In January we signed Campbell. We have been playing recently without our first choice defenders and if you look at Utd’s defending earlier this season without Vidic and Ferdinand it was absolutely shocking as well. So should Fergie be hauled up for the quality of defending as well?

    2. What ‘keeper should have been brought in? As AW has said, Lloris, Akinfeev and Neuer were not available last summer. So who would you have brought in? I have heard people say name slike Sorensen, well did you see him play yesterday and the way he failed to push shots aside properly? We see our own ‘keepers through a biased lens and criticize them heavily. However when you start looking around Europe, there are few really top-class ‘keepers around right now. So again, who would you have brought in?

    3. Yes, we were all dissapointed in the way the team fell away after the 2nd goal against Spurs, and failed to push for a 3rd against Wigan. That was tiredness, that was frustration, that was everything coming together after a long season and that was a 2nd string team we had out on the pitch. Sometimes those things happen. Sometimes you just play poorly. I havent heard too many people making excuses for the Wigan game. That was a terrible loss and the players blew it. I am sure they know it more than anyone and the manager surely exploded on them. But they are human, and stuff happens. Are you perfect?

    4. So the same injuries happen to the same people do they? What are the same injuries at the same time? Did Nasri and Ramsey have broken legs last season? No. Did Vermaelen have an injury last year for Ajax? No. Did Cesc have the same injury? No. Did RvP tear an ankle ligament last year? No. Did AA have injuries last year? No. Did Gibbs get a broken toe? No. Gallas tore his medial ligament last year, and has a hamstring problem this year, so not the same.

    Sorry, but where are the same injuries at the same time that you are talking about?

    5. So rather than build a deep young squad of players that understand AW’s system and have grown up with it, and who are versatile, you would rather send out an older team, with a smaller squad (since buying in players mean transfer fees, which mean less on wages), and with players that have no idea about AW’s system and who have no affiliation with the club. Okay, that is your opinion, But surely you can understand why some people would like us to have a deep young squad of players that understand the club and the ways of AW. Surely that isnt all that hard to understand is it?

  • Every day we get loads of spam emails onto this site trying to con their way here so that their adverts can get further coverage.

    The eternal vigilance of the editorial team (well, mostly the software, but I do keep an eye out) means that most of this stuff doesn’t get through.

    But here’s one that I thought so good I had to let it take its place, now that we’ve had the bulk of the discussion, and have moved a bit away from what the original piece said.

    Obviously I have taken the ads out…

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  • tim

    Tony — Forgot to add: Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

  • Arselicked

    Keep up the good work Tony,

    Tony, what we are seeing is the 10/90% rule in motion.

    10% can see where AW is trying to take this team, which is to make us the powerhouse of Europe without breaking the bank whereas 90% see us in terminal decline.

    From what is said around you would think that since our last trophy, we have been going backwards whereas the results prove otherwise.

    Unfortunately bloggers and businessman have picked up on this and have realised that to have more hits and comments you have to come up with a negative story. No wonder stories that are negative towards AW and by extension AFC have comments running in thousands and hundreds, because the IQ is low.

  • Dickster

    We came 1st or 2nd in Wenger’s first 8 years and haven’t now for 5 years – but all is rosy and we’re still making progress!

    There is a reason that 90% of the fans are questioning Wenger’s ethos and that is because it really isn’t working.

  • Paul C.

    Anyone who thinks we are going backwards should remember 2005/06. That was a squad including Lehman, Toure, Pires, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Campbell, Reyes, Fabregas, Gilberto, Ashley Cole, Van Persie, Lauren, Hleb, and a certain Thierry Henry. That is 11 members of the Invincibles side (only Vieira, Edu and Wiltord missing) with RvP, Hleb and Fabregas added. Our record that season was W 20 D 7 L 11 PTS 67. We finished in 4th place by winning 4 out of our last 5 (with the other match being a draw with Spurs, our competition for 4th place), and then watching Spurs lose their final game under suspicions of food poisoning. For all those “Arsene got rid of the experienced guys too quickly” arguments, hey folks, the experienced guys had a final chance in 2005/06 and almost cost us our 4th place position in the League. And our success in Europe that season was due largely with “kids” (Senderos in for Campbell, Flamini in for Cole, Fabregas in midfield, Eboue in for Lauren at RB).

    Now I remember that year very vividly. It is due to my memories of that season that I refuse to believe that whole “we are going backwards” argument. I remember that season too well.

    The Invincibles team died that year. Vieira had left the previous summer but he was very well replaced by Fabregas. None of us were complaining about that. The remnants of the Invincibles side barely scraped into 4th in what was a VERY weak year outside of Chelsea (Utd were in rebuilding mode, Liverpool didnt have Torres and Alonso was just starting there, Spurs were Spurs, and then there was no one, Blackburn, Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham were the next 4 in the League Table). They were no longer the Invincibles.

    It is time to let that team go. We saw them leave right in front of us, on the playing field. The Invincibles didnt die when AW callously sold them, they died on the playing field in 2005/06, and all of us should cast our minds back to that season and remember just how bleak things looked back then. We had just started building the stadium and had ZERO money. The pundits were saying “THE END IS HERE FOR ARSENAL!!!” jubilantly.

    Now, have we really gone backwards since then?

    The Invincibles died. Then they were sold. Not the other way around. AW rebuilt with virtually zero money, except the money he raised by selling the old Invincibles.

    It has now been 4 seasons since then. This team hasnt failed to win a trophy for 5 years because the last of those years was the old Invincibles side. This team is still progressing.

    I think we’ve moved WAAAAAYYYYYYYY forward from 2005/06, which is the season that we should really be remembering when it comes to thinking about “The Invincibles”. We all remember 2001-2002, 2002-03, 2003-04 and the Championships and FA Cups.

    But we forget 1999-00 and 2000-01, the rebuilding years between AW’s Championships, when we were only finishing in 2nd place because the League was ridiculously poor. We had money to rebuild in those years so the process was quicker. But we were NOWHERE near Utd in those two seasons. We were far further away from Utd then than we are from Utd and Chelsea now.

    We also forget 2004-05 and 2005-06 and the decline of the Invincibles. We watched that decline and it was clear and obvious.

    People need to realise that we have been moving forward ever since that season and have been doing it quicker and quicker. It took three years to clear the deadwood from that side and only now is it truly a “new” team. Let’s now give them a chance.

  • Dickster – your argument is ok, except that it does what all these negative arguments do – it leaves out many factors.

    For example, in the years of first and second, there was far less financial doping around. We had a fair crack at Man U even though they were sending themselves into financial oblivion, but we had nothing to prepare us for Abramovich. The fact that we are still in touching distance of a club that has access to football money that before he came along was never even dreamed of, is the greatest tribute that Wenger could have had.

    What you see as a failure and reason to get rid of the manager becomes (when you look at the context) a stunning success.

  • Paul C.

    Tony – I have a bone of contention from your last post. Manchester United were not sending themselves into financial oblivion when AW and SAF were fighting it out, they were spending what they earned. SAF has always been exactly the same way as AW, you dont spend more than you earn. Manchester United simply always had more money than Arsenal.

    Utd’s financial problems started when the Glazers arrived. Until then they were a money making profit machine without any debt.

    And now they are a money making profit machine deep, deeeeeeeep, deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep in debt.

    In AW’s first 7 years it was an even playing field. Manchester United were richer than us, plain and simple.

  • Dickster

    Sorry Tony, but you are spouting the diatribe of the one-eyed man.

    We have the highest gate receipts of any team in the world yet we spend less than any of the world’s major teams on players. I know that we have a large debt to service but we are not servicing it, we are paying it off early and that is to the detriment of the football team.

    Arsene appears to have embraced this – if he hasn’t then he should say so.

    We are only in touching distance of Utd and Chelsea because they have been so poor this year. A few quid spent in January and pre-season (replacing Ade for example) would have paid dividends and we’d all be sitting here having won the PL already.

    Instead we are having to make do with too many poor performers –

  • Dickster

    Continued… Denilson, Diaby, Almunia, Fabianski, Silvestre, Vela, a never to be fit Eduardo. None of these playrs would be in the Utd, Chelsea or, dare I say it, Spurs teams. Why do we have to suffer them?

    I don’t hate Arsenal, I hate the way that we are being taken for a ride, be it by the board or by Arsene. The income that we generate should have us at the top of the pile with Utd. Instead we are a poor third and, if the season was a month longer, we’d finish out of the top 4

  • Paul C.

    Dickster – sorry, but your simplified and largely false commentary on our financial situation minimizing everything you say subsequently. You are wrong about our revenues, the amount we spend on players, and also the interest repayments.

    So given that you are just WRONG on those points (and both Tony and myself could produce an enormous amounty of evidence to support the fact that you are very, very wrong) why on earth should anyone believe that you have any knowledge whatsoever about how to run a football club? Therefore why should anyone believe you when you say things like “A few quid spent in January and pre-season (replacing Ade for example) would have paid dividends and we’d all be sitting here having won the PL already” and your assertion that we are watching poor players.

    A few quid???? That is very funny. You should be a comedian. Yeah, let’s just spend a few quid on world-class players since we know that their clubs would sell them for a few quid and that the players would be happy to sign a contract for a few quid. Just a few quid, eh mate? What’s a few quid between friends huh???

    Yeah, if I had just a few quid more I’d be a billionnaire and buy Arsenal. Yeah, then I’d bloody show ’em. Just a few quid away I am, mate.

    Our players are poor? Wow. You must have an amazing eye for players. Since your judgement is so finely tuned as to be able to identify all the “poor” players that are playing Arsenal, then please enlighten all of us with a list of the “not poor” players you think should replace our “poor” players.

    This should be funny.

  • I dont hate Wenger I was stating the facts as related to Tonis article.

    Where does it say I hate Wenger. Oh well.

    Ive supported Arsenal since double year 70/71.

    I must be a band wagon fan.

    Yeah Right.

  • By the way I now live in Pheonix USA and can at present only follow in Fox S C or ESPN.

    but even you can see he Wenger is not creating a winning culture. He is rewarding failure.

    Why after so many years has he not corrected the same faults as seen by all and sundry. Set Pieces, Goalkeeper quality, defensive midfielder enforcer to compete with Song, Two experienced central defenders. Relying on Sol showed his lack of vision in that area.

  • If Wengers scouting is so good. Why didnt he find Lloris, Ginac,
    Hazard, The list goes on and on.

    He now has a smorgers board of his astectic beleif in what a squad should look like.

    There must be at least six players of below Arsenl/ and previouse Wengers standerds but there still there.

    Thats why he is held accpuntable to the Anti Wenger brigade. Its of his own choosing.

  • Paul C.

    Stubby –

    Set pieces – well, we have been far better this season from set pieces. We havent been worse than anyone else. We have suffered more from inconsistent goalkeeping and injuries to defenders. But theer have been much fewer of those scary set-peice moments this season than in years past. Most of the time I actually felt pretty confident from set-pieces this season.

    Goalkeeper Quality – Yeah, people would agree with that. So would the manager. We know he is going to buy within a certain budget and wage structure and within those restrictions, I am sure he is looking all over the place. He has to be sure they are better than what we have already, and when I watch other ‘keepers closely I certainly dont see many who are definately better. We could ask AW to simply guess based on what the tabloids say, but do we really want our manager to buy according to who the tabloids say? That is scary.

    Defensive midfielder to compete with Song – uh, why would we want that? Song is No.1 in this position and a lot of people feel like he can turn into one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. Why would we want to bring in someone to compete, split time with, and encourage Song to go somewhere else where he would all the time? I just dont understand that.

    However, if you actually meant to say “defensive midfielder to back-up Song” then that is another issue altogether. Yeah, we could go out and get a back-up, or we could let Eastmond continue to develop in that role, knowing that Denilson can also do a reasonable job in that role in an emergency as well?

    It is only my opinion but I much prefer Eastmond and Denilson than the devil we dont know.

    Two experienced central defenders – so you want experienced central defenders but you dont want Sol and Silvestre. Hmmm. I am very confused again. Hmmm. I dont quite know what to think of that.

    I actually would prefer two talented central defenders. Call me old-fashioned, but I always look at talent when I am judging players. You obviously prefer experience, but given the choice I’d always take the talent. As the great Baseball player Yogi Berra once said “if I have to choose between experience and talent I’d take talent every time, because by the time you are experienced you no longer have the talent”. He said that in the final years of his career when asked by a reporter if he was a better player than when he was young. So I want talented central defenders, whereas you want experince but dont want Sol and Silvestre. Hmmmm. Still can’t get my head around that one.

  • Paul C.

    Stubby – so Pascal Cygan was top-class was he? What about Igor Stepanov? Look back at Arsene’s early squads at Arsenal and then come back and with your hand on your heart say, “the players at Arsenal now are worse than the players that were at Arsenal in the first 8 years of AW’s reign at Arsenal”.

    Really, try to be honest when you do it. I am not talking about the superstars, because NOBODY knew how good Henry, Vieira and Pires would turn out to be when they were thrown together with Bergkamp, that was just pure chemistry, once in a lifetime stuff.

    I am talking about the SQUAD as a whole. I just dont see how you could say that AW is now carrying at leats 6 players that are not to his high standards.

  • RVP

    Can anyone name me a club that’s built a new stadium and still managed to stay in the League?
    Arsene Wenger has not only managed to stay in the League but also compete at the highest level. I don’t care what anyone says, that is a massive massive achievement. We’re close baby, we’re close I can smell it.

  • Ole Gunner

    My brother is a catastrophist. He points to Aston Villa and says; they won cups in the past, they were a big club. Wenger is stemming the tide. The players are not good enough. We need to be more English. Vermaelen should be left back, Gallas should be right back, and we need to blue-eyed 6 ft 100 centre halves. If we didn’t pass so much we’d score much more etc etc.

    Yet, after the Wolves game, he looked at me and said; “Why are we even in the title race? By rights we shouldn’t be”.

    He doesn’t hate Arsenal. He’s even more Arsenal than I am. Keeps his season ticket, has St. Totts barbecue parties etc.

    He’s just very pessimistic by nature.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen some people who positively hate the Arsenal. Most of the guys at the Gooner just absolutely loathe the club in its current form, and they dont even disguise it.

    I don’t understand the phenomenon. If you hate the club, why the hell do you even stick around it?

  • what I am advocating is someone to actually stand up to Arsene.

    Since Dein left it appears that he almost singlehandedly runs the club.

    I know I do not know everything that goes on at the club. But look at the two phases of his tenure. Pre Emirates ane post Emirates. The teamsa are nothing alike. Where is the counter attacking splendour of the pre era to this pass them to deathe post era. It all seems a bit weird to me.

    Its as if he was given a candy store told he can have what he likes and ends up taling just different forms of the same sweets.

    Weird.

    What has happened to judge me at the end of the season. I we dont win a trophy then I will have to admit that the experiment has failed. The Arsene knows best brigade never want Arsene to be accountable. Period.

    Weird.

  • Real madrid/Barcelona built new stadia and are still in there leagues.

    The milans did.

    Your point.

  • Paul C.

    Stubby – but Barcelona spent the 1960’s struggling while paying off the 288million pesos debt they incurred building the Camp Nou. The stadium redevelopment in the 1980’s was paid for by the government as part of WC 82, as was Real Madrid’s initial redevelopment of the Bernabou. And Madrid had a massive debt from their most recent redevelopment that was threatening to crush them until the government came in and bought their training ground for ridiculous price wy above market value.

    And Milan built the original San Siro around the same time as Highbury was built. The stadium redevelopment was paid for by the government for WC 90.

    Bad examples to use for trying to counter an argument. But why let facts get in the way of a good argument?

  • We are not fighting facts we are using his ability to keep us in the top four as the bench mark for his success. It is but he could have gone so much further. You see he is held accountable to his own high standerds and when they fail he pulls out the winning isnt everything trump card. I know hes a great manager I have followed the Gunners under some awful managers. But you will not make him accountable in case he gats upset and leaves

  • I know hes a great manager. Period end of story. But you will not make him accountable through fear of him getting upset and leaving. Everything is not rosey.

  • Paul C.

    Stubby – How is AW not being held accountable?

    Had Arsenal failed to stay in the top-4 from 2005-09, when we were building the new stadium, he probably would have been fired, or resigned himself. But he didnt fail. That was his job from 2005-09, keeping us in the top-4 while the finances of the club came back online. He succeeded. Gloriously. He lived up to his own high standards. Those will go down in our history as five of the most crucial years in our history, and WE REMAINED IN THE TOP-4!!!!!

    Listen, you may not see that as a successful period and even though I think you are an absolute idiot for not being able to see the rather simple truth of our predicament during those years, I accept that not everyone is going to see things in the same way.

    I just have not yet heard a feasible argument as to how AW could have done things any better during those years with the financial situation at the club. I have analysed the accounts, wages, etc of the club for the last decade and I really dont know how even a single penny more could have been spared for team-building. But of course you know where more money could have been found do you? Of course you do. And you know where all those affordable, but hugely talented, players are as well dont you? Of course you do.

    You are trying to suggest that you are somehow the realist and others are delusional, or in denial, or crazy. But how are you a realist in any sense whatsoever? You have crazy expectations and when the club dont meet those expectations you go nuts and say it is a disgrace and terrible. Uh yeah. That’s good.

    People on this board keep expectations reasonable and celebrate the club in good and bad times. We criticise and debate. Some think AW is god, others (like myself) just think he is a superb manager who should be allowed to continue with his current squad building until there is definitive evidence he has failed. Finishing 3rd with a young team that has suffered some untimely injuries is not reason to sack the manager. It is a reason to feel great about the future in my opinion.

    But no, we are delusional and you are the realist.

    Hm, yes. That makes complete sense.

  • Finsbury

    Ole,

    How popular is the Gooner/Online Gooner?

    I’m tempted to misdirect all their boxes on arrival for the next Home game. With a little help from my ‘Gestapo’ friends!

    They’re stepping up their ‘campaign’ for the end of the season, as seen on this blog too, although the fact that the Club have done better then they or their supporters said it would, should discredit them.

    However, they are appealing to a baser instinct, as you alluded to. One that entails a healthy dose of Xenephobia, as the ‘Gestapo’ slander the other day proves.

    Which in Germany could possibly land them in jail…

  • 'holic

    Nice work as ever, Tony. Nail smote firmly at the opposite pole to the pointed end.

  • God you are a prententious old fool with your limited literary references and drivel about Wenger! Wenger is not delivering and is cushioned by the fact there has been a massive gap between the top 4 and the rest. I dont think this will last. For the last 5 seasons we have been going round in circles and ending 3rd or 4th in a 4 horse race. He has no pressure to deliver. If you cant get it into your head that there are better players out there than Almunia, Fabianski, Senderos, Eboue, Silvestre, Densilon, Walcott, Djourou, Eduardo and Vela then you are truly from another planet. Are these the “first teamers you refere to”? As for your analysis of the media truth is that most times the football journos do get the doom and gloom stories. The disruption Adebayor was causing in the dressing, the rift between Gallas and Toure are examples of the press publishing stories that were true. Wenger inherited a fighting spirit that was always AFC – these days we we look like leaderless surrender monkeys. The real Gooners dont like their team looking like pussies. Maybe you are comfortable with it? The Citeh game was like watching some joke game of pass the ball to death but try anything that might resemble a shot on goal. Anyone who calls Wenger a Lord is a fantasist. Cheers (BET YOU WONT POST THIS!)

  • mick w

    love it,

    these people actually look forward to us losing so they can vent their spleen on their chosen scapegoats. And will people please lay off Abou Diaby? He’s going to be a top top player, if he can stay fit. I like Wengers loyalty, to his players, to the club, to the fans, it’s a pity it’s not always reciprocated.

  • We Love Wenger For What He Have Done

    these people are certainly not gunners…
    fake gunner n probably chelsea or totts fans…
    i know that wenger has his weaknesses…
    but i clearly dont think that it is nice to insult him in the way this man did…we’re all thankful to wenger & infact owe him for making the club for what it is today…he made the club from a ordinary club to a club that is considered as 1 of the best clubs in the world…& clearly he couldn’t afford to buy big money signings in the past few years cos we’ve build up a new stadium a lot of money was spent for a lot of different things..if he controlled the club in the way you would have wanted, we would be in “administration” right now!!!…

    OK!!…go & sack wenger…WHO ARE YOU GONNA BRING???…
    do u expect pep from barca 2 come??…we would end up being a club like chelski changing managers every 9 months…

    just appreciate what wenger has done for the club & give your support to him…come on give him some time…he’ll sign new players & develop the youngsters & build a squad that will be soooo unstoppable…A squad that will conquer the whole world..then all u fake gunners will come telling that we have the best manager…i just have 3 words for them..GO TO HELL!!!…we love wenger & we love our arsenal!!!!!!!!!

  • All comments are posted unless they are copies of other people’s comments, or racist or otherwise illegal. No matter how insulting the commentator is, the piece goes up.

  • Finsbury

    I don’t really know what the law is in Germany, just a vague idea from some time there, so maybe I shouldn’t have made my 8:39 pm comment.

    I didn’t find that Gestapo reference unacceptable, just tragic. I should have just refered to that comment as being from the ‘Little Englander’ mentality cliche, that is what it seems to be.

    Brilliant posts this week, thanks to all at Untold Arsenal.

  • SuperMickeyT

    I call them the Championship Manager generation.

  • Weg

    @ Paul C

    1. Did Djourou really get injured two days before the close of the transfer season? If so, I sorry you’re right – no time to rush a replacement. However, it still left Wenger with six months to target someone in January. We went for Smalling, lost out, gave Senderos away on loan, and signed Campbell on happenstance. That begs the question of whether Wenger thought we were short at centre-back. Man Utd haven’t had their first choice pairing for most of the season. And yet they’ve been continent, most of the time. Remember how well Johnny Evans did against us?

    2. Given for 8m?

    3. Yes Paul C, I am perfect. I expect others to be perfect as well. Moreover, I have a job and a career. I am professional about it, and give my best effort. The players are professionals as well, and even if they don’t have the talent of the 1st team, I expect a full-blooded effort in the important, year-defining games like the ones against Spurs and Wigan.

    4. Gallas has had injuries related to fatigue and failure of conditioning every season he’s been here. Ligament injuries, hamstring strains usually have the same cause. Diaby, Eduardo, ditto. van Persie’s just made of glass.

    5. We have a young squad that is over-paid and doesn’t seem to give 100% when it doesn’t suit them to. They’re fragile, and look like dear in headlights when facing the big clubs. They could use a few wise heads to guide them. Surely that’s not too hard to understand? Besides, the places where I’m advocating new players are; centre-back, where we’ve got a 35 year old and a 32 year old as backups, with no young players on the horizon; and defensive midfield, where we have Song and no backup at all.

  • Zack

    Nice article here Tony! It’s like bait for these people (D&G/Catastrophists) to come out and comment and you just laugh at their “well-informed” points that they bring up, and ironically calling Untold and its readers stupid and one-dimensional when they are one-dimensional too.

    I especially love their argument about Song. One or two seasons ago, they said to sell him, and flamed Wenger for it. This season, they flame Wenger for not bringing a replacement for Song, rather than praise his foresight in not listening to these people. Now of course, there are more players that are on that list that Song was on last season. One-dimensional anyone?

    Almost all their arguments can be categorized as follows:
    A) Player X, Y and Z are crap, therefore Wenger’s judgement in choosing players always sucks. (Yes, there are times when his judgement fails him and everyone remembers Francis Jeffers right? But why don’t the same people remember the uncut gems discovered by Wenger that includes Henry, Fabregas, RVP, Song, Vermaelen etc?)
    B) We need Players A, B and C because Players X, Y and Z are crap. They know that they can easily get A B C without breaking the bank, and Wenger’s blind faith in X Y Z is plain stupid. Therefore, Wenger sucks. (Heck, I can name tons of players better than the ones we have too, but will they come in the current field of financial doping? 80mil for Ronaldo, 200mil release clause for Messi anyone? I wonder how much Aguero will go for next season too.)
    C) Wenger has no Plan B. Only pretty to watch, no results at all. Pass pass pass pass pass pass pass. That’s all he ever does and it fails all the time. (But didn’t we all love the opening match of the season with a full team and the same game plan? Or the match against Man U at OT with a full team vs their full team and Mike Dean? Even Pep Guardiola says that it’s risky to defend and Barca only has the game plan for attack right?)
    D) Wenger has to plan for an injury crisis like this season. He hasn’t, therefore Wenger must go because sucks. (And wasn’t Alex Ferguson all doom and gloom during his defensive injury crisis when they got trashed by Fulham? Did the so-called best manager in the world prepare for it? Now Wenger refuses to use injuries as an excuse and people are screwing him over for it.)
    E) Not really a point they bring up. But a common characteristic about the catastrophists/D&G is that they believe almost everything the press says, especially the anti-Arsenal ones. Yes, some are true, but most of the time, sports journalism has turned into crap and is no longer objective.

    It’s late and I don’t wanna continue this list.I’m sure someone can easily categorize all the criticisms directed at Wenger into a list like this too. It’s always the same points passed around the pitch somewhat like Arsenal’s passing.

  • Y ou are so incorrect about people beleiving what the press says.

    They dont. Wenger runs Arsenal like his own private fifedom.

    It isnt. He is not accountable and has created a mishmash of players that do not complment each other.

    Only Arsharvin, Cesc, Vermeelen, Van Persie are truly world class. The next step down is Clichy, Sagnsm Song, Gallas Rosicke nasri are really good players. The rest well thats for you to decide.

    He really only has half a squad. When there are injuries or major upheavals the rest cant cut it.

  • Paul C.

    Stubby – WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE 11 WORLD-CLASS PLAYERS ON THE PITCH UNLESS WE DEVELOP THEM OURSELVES!!!!

    Don’t you get that? You say that the only world-class players that Arsenal have are Arshavin, Cesc, RvP and TV as if that is a bad thing. That is 4 world-class players we have! That is 4 more than Tottenham. That is 2 more than Liverpool. That is more than City have right now, and they spent a lot of money so far and will surely spend a lot more. To get 7 more world-class players would cost a fortune that we do not have.

    The only way Arsenal will ever have 11 world-class players is if we get extremely lucky with shrewd AW buys (Lehman, Ljundberg, Lauren, Toure, Edu from the Invincibles) or if we develop them ourselves. Right now we have an assortment of players from both groups starting to develop and mature. Some will make it and some will not. Where weaknesses appear along the way you try and plug them with transfers.

    And this comment about “he really only has half a squad”. Do you really think we could have been in 3rd place with the injuries we’ve had to our top, world-class players if we only had half a squad.

    No, the reserve players couldnt handle a passionate North London derby night unlike anything a lot of them would have experienced. No, the reserve players couldnt handle a passionate Wigan team that simply didnt stop playing and give us a win when we were 2-0 up. That would have been a lesson to all those who played those nights. But there have been plenty of other nights for most of those reserve players this season where their contributions assisted a victory, or ensured a draw. The fact that we went into 2 very tough away games at the end of a long season without Arshavin, RvP, Cesc, Song (very close to being world-class), Gallas (world-class when fully fit), Vermaelen and Ramsey and lost by a single goal in both shouldnt be a reason for the kind of criticism you are throwing around.

    Your arguments are so easy to counter and yet you persist in this mad rage against AW and his players. What have they done to you?

  • We Love Wenger For What He Have Done

    @Paul C…
    bro i seriously don’t think that these morons understand the truth that u’ve been trying to explain again & again…i 100% agree to what u say…but as far as i can see most of the chelski & totts fans who seems to be the people writing on this page doesn’t seem to understand…or they must be supporting the club for about 6 o 7 months…

    come on everybody stand up against the man who made this club to what is today & get him sacked…
    cheslki,man u & totts fans will be very happy as well indeed..
    bring the dream manager on & i bet that we will never ever become the arsenal that we know again!!!

  • well-endowed gooner

    Zack
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:55 am
    Nice article here Tony! It’s like bait for these people (D&G/Catastrophists) to come out and comment and you just laugh at their “well-informed” points that they bring up, and ironically calling Untold and its readers stupid and one-dimensional when they are one-dimensional too.
    I especially love their argument about Song. One or two seasons ago, they said to sell him, and flamed Wenger for it. This season, they flame Wenger for not bringing a replacement for Song, rather than praise his foresight in not listening to these people. Now of course, there are more players that are on that list that Song was on last season. One-dimensional anyone?
    Almost all their arguments can be categorized as follows:
    A) Player X, Y and Z are crap, therefore Wenger’s judgement in choosing players always sucks. (Yes, there are times when his judgement fails him and everyone remembers Francis Jeffers right? But why don’t the same people remember the uncut gems discovered by Wenger that includes Henry, Fabregas, RVP, Song, Vermaelen etc?)
    B) We need Players A, B and C because Players X, Y and Z are crap. They know that they can easily get A B C without breaking the bank, and Wenger’s blind faith in X Y Z is plain stupid. Therefore, Wenger sucks. (Heck, I can name tons of players better than the ones we have too, but will they come in the current field of financial doping? 80mil for Ronaldo, 200mil release clause for Messi anyone? I wonder how much Aguero will go for next season too.)
    C) Wenger has no Plan B. Only pretty to watch, no results at all. Pass pass pass pass pass pass pass. That’s all he ever does and it fails all the time. (But didn’t we all love the opening match of the season with a full team and the same game plan? Or the match against Man U at OT with a full team vs their full team and Mike Dean? Even Pep Guardiola says that it’s risky to defend and Barca only has the game plan for attack right?)
    D) Wenger has to plan for an injury crisis like this season. He hasn’t, therefore Wenger must go because sucks. (And wasn’t Alex Ferguson all doom and gloom during his defensive injury crisis when they got trashed by Fulham? Did the so-called best manager in the world prepare for it? Now Wenger refuses to use injuries as an excuse and people are screwing him over for it.)
    E) Not really a point they bring up. But a common characteristic about the catastrophists/D&G is that they believe almost everything the press says, especially the anti-Arsenal ones. Yes, some are true, but most of the time, sports journalism has turned into crap and is no longer objective.
    It’s late and I don’t wanna continue this list.I’m sure someone can easily categorize all the criticisms directed at Wenger into a list like this too. It’s always the same points passed around the pitch somewhat like Arsenal’s passing.

    ——-

    Zack, could you refute any of these points?

  • Dave Spart

    Once again the totally capitalist Wenger cabal have undermined, the, er, loyal working class true Arsenal fans, who pay thousands of pounds a game out of their already overtaxed earnings and should win a trophy every year because the clubs earns more money than er Steaua Bucharest er its a disgrace that the billions of pounds we have in the bank are not being spent on top players like, er, Messi and Carlton Cole, it’s sickening… totally sickening… worse than Hitler…continued on page 94.

  • Gf60

    @Paul C. Good comments mate esp. the earlier one (yesterday 4.39) looking back on 2005-6. It reminded me of an article I wrote in Dec 2005 for our local AFC supporters. I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing it in full. Hope this is of sufficient interest to warrant the space used Tony. If not, apologies.

    27/12/2005
    How many clubs in the football league, not to mention their fans, would like to look back on a year that shows them as FA Cup Holders, Premier League runners up and in the last 16 of the European Cup?
    The vast majority I would expect…especially Tottenham who have lived in Arsenal’s shadow for so many years. Indeed one wonders if Bill Shankley’s famous comment may not have been more correctly used to describe North London’s two great sides over the past 15 years…Arsenal and Arsenal reserves.
    Yet as the year crawls to a close we find mainly discontented Gooners and the spuds crowing. Someone has let a ray of light into the chicken coop at WHL and the cockerels are in full voice. Whilst there are a few cautionary voices warning that being a few points ahead at this point in the year does not a season make, the consensus amongst most Spurs fans is that the Arsenal are doomed and that the Spurs are coming out of the closet as it were and will be North London’s future force.
    And in fairness, who could honestly blame them? They do seem at last to have an honest manager (Jol) who knows what he is doing. They do have some good young talent both on the pitch and waiting in the wings. They do have a board that does not appear handicapped by having to fund a mega stadium. They do have a side that is prepared to scrap for points. Several times this season they have come back and taken points from deficits that would have resulted in the old Spurs turning their little toes up…with an ignominous croak rather than a defiant crow. And most important of all, they are ahead of the Arsenal in the league…an event that by its inherent rarity is worthy of at least fifty ‘cock a doodle does’… or doesn’t as the case may prove to be.

    To be a Gooner at this point in time is not as easy as it has been.

    For old farts like this writer who have experienced season after season ended bereft of trophies, bereft of hope even, by March at the latest which was the lot of anyone who supported the Arse post 1953, the herald of two 18 year droughts as far as championships were concerned, the thought that a temporary blip on the landscape may occur is not such a hardship. We “know” that normal service will resume as soon as possible.
    For those with a supporting history of less than say 16 years, it is a tad more difficult but for the youngsters introduced to the glories post the Wenger reign, it is hardship beyond experience.
    All they have known effectively is a diet of caviar entree, chateaubriand steak for main course and peach melba to follow. These washed down with a lusty red wine, with port and stilton to follow. It is difficult therefore to accept a new diet not so much resembling fresh, crispy bread as hard tack…indeed there have been occasions when one wonders if even the hard is missing from the tack. This was most noticeable at Bolton, where for the second year in succession, and despite twice hitting the woodwork, the side lay down and died.
    That bad luck has played a noticeable role in Arsenal’s temporary blip is accepted. To lose one left back to injury is unfortunate; to lose two calamitous…other injuries have hardly helped, most noticeably the nagging Achilles problem of Thierry Henry. To hit the woodwork as many times as they have done and to have had ‘good’ goals disallowed does not make for happy campers on the terraces.
    Yet I cannot recall any complaints about the FA Cup victory where to put it mildly, we had an element of fortune not previously enjoyed in a Cup Final since Liverpool’s outrageous fortune against us several years back. It was perhaps indicative of what was to come in the latter half of the year that the last ball that Paddy Vieira struck in anger for Arsenal was the winner in the penalty shoot out.
    That Paddy’s decision to move on has affected the side became apparent early on. Like many others, I was also of the opinion that we’d had the best of Paddy and that he was nowhere near the force he had been for so many years. We had adequate replacements we thought. We were wrong. To return to the bread analogy, perhaps his performances were not as all commanding as previously; perhaps he was a bit short of that excellence to which we had become accustomed. Perhaps he was a hard tack and water Paddy compared to the old fire eating magician. But he was still hard, very hard, tack. And today, I believe that half a Paddy would have been better than no Paddy at all, because, like Keane at Man U. he never accepted losing.
    Would losses against sides that had never or very rarely beaten us in the Premier have been tolerated? WBA, Middlesbrough, Newcastle…for God’s sake even Chel$ki, all managed to do that which they had not done for years. Yes, in many of those games we were unlucky… think of goals disallowed, woodwork hit, players being unjustly sent off and last but not least, the ultimate tackle on Chel$ki’s Drogba that pushed his shin into contact with the ball and a goal that would otherwise not have been…but football is a cruel game, and, you do make your own luck.
    And much of Arsenal’s luck this year has been connected to the great players getting one year older. Whereas the Pires’, Ljunberg’s, Bergkamp’s of old would go past players as though they were non existent or ghost into space un-noticed by defenders, they can no longer do so…or worse are no longer willing to do so. Sol and Gilberto seem to be more capable of picking out the opposition than their own players.
    It would be grossly unfair to compare this Arsenal with say another rebuilding Arsenal…the Arsenal of 1992/3. Then, with some justification, it was possible to think that the presence on the pitch of some players effectively meant Arsenal were starting with 8 or 9 men…and that long before any referee had need to start thinking about red cards. We are a long way from those dark days.
    That the older/getting slower players will be successfully replaced, probably sooner rather than later, with our own home-grown talent, seems inevitable. The talent is there. The need to ‘never, ever give in’ probably needs more cultivation.
    It is a difficult period but the signs are there that the transition is nearing completion. Not least against Chelsea were the signs favourable; the will to fight was there; the skill was emerging; the outcome…who knows had a linesman correctly interpreted the offside rule or Henry’s shot not collected the outside of the post?
    And then against Charlton, just one moment of the breath taking audacity of an Arsenal side truly on the move. Goal of the season but for a poor final execution. Still not firing on all cylinders but indicative of the Ferrari getting back into gear.
    These are the things that suggest the resurrection will not be long in coming. True, Liverpool and Man U are still to be faced this season. It may well be that they are, at this point, too strong for us. They will however, know they’ve been in a game.
    What of the ‘pretenders’ to the North London throne…Tottenham? Well having massacred this transitional Arsenal for 45 minutes, they should have had the October derby dead and buried for the first time since 1999. But, by the end of the day, they were grimly hanging on for a point. Whilst an Arsenal win would not have been a “fair” result (and who cares about fair?) it was the only possible result given the respective second half performances.
    Since then, and desperately trying to keep my in built bias out of it, they just have not looked like a side destined to maintain 4th spot on the log. Robinson has performed wonders keeping out the likes of Portsmouth, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Birmingham. It may be unfair but had they gained but 3 points from those encounters (instead of 10), not many neutrals would have said they deserved a great deal better. Davids has done a sterling job for them, but even with him (and given his suspect discipline there are likely to be many ‘withouts’) they still look very suspect defensively. Given that their lead up to the New Year consisted of games that may well have been hand picked to ensure that they went into 2006 with a lead over the Arsenal, they have been disappointing. The brave new world and the light in the chicken coop may well be still a way away.
    It will be interesting to see which side manages to ‘come good’ quickest. Whether either is sufficiently good for Europe automatically next year is debateable. But at least St. Totteringham’s Day does not appear to be pencilled in for some time during March. And that makes for a welcome change.

  • francis kigondu

    look it is not a matter of hating the manager it is a matter of the obvious. How on earth do you explain bringing in VP in the 89th minute in a game that we looked venarable for the last 15 minutes.It is depressing for a true gooner to watch that kind of display and shouting that we have a wonderfull manager will not change the fact that some of our performances are plainly pathetic. It is in accepting that we are not living to our own expectations that we shall learn to fight. Even the weakest child in class is asked to atleast better his performance over the terms and avoid a see saw of up and down whishis what we have been doing for a couple of years. Give us a break and fill in the obvious positions and stop giving excuses. that would be my message to your beloved AW. Or we shall conclude the guy has reached the apex of his creativity .

  • goonergerry

    Many of the home fans do not behave like fans at all-they sit in judgement of the team and slag them off often unreasonably when a mistake is made-over expectation is rife but enthusiasm and support is low on the agenda- reminds me of the coloseum -but sorry to say it but isn’t moaning a national trait not restricted to gooners? tried checking out the Pool websites recently?

  • Francis I really think you haven’t quite got the point of this web site.

    It is here specifically to support Arsene Wenger. It says that on the top of the home page, and I would have thought the 1200 plus articles now available on the site would show you that. You are of course welcome to make your comments, but you won’t be surprised to know that I find them flawed in every regard, and my numerous articles on this site explain in great detail why.

    There are however many other sites which support your point of view and where you will find many friends.

  • Paul C.

    Francis – so the height of your tactical intelligence when leading 2-0 and looking extremely vulnerable at the back, away from home, against an opponent desperate for points, is to bring on a striker that has hardly played for 5 months and who was still extremely sore and stiff from playing 30 minutes four days previously.

    That is your tactical brilliance?

    And people should agree with you?

    Why?

    Excuse me, but do we really seem that stupid to you?

  • Zack

    @ Well Endowed Gooner:

    Have I not placed counterarguments in almost all the points I brought up except point E in brackets?

  • Goonerman

    I used to enjoy reading about Arsenal; all sites and newspapers.

    Not anymore.

  • We Love Wenger For What He Have Done

    @Goonerman…
    u must have stop reading bout arsenal cos you’re an unfaithful supporter…we’re very happy that fake fans like you leave the club…thanks for leaving!!

    if you’re a real supporter..u’ll always be supporting the team through thick & thin…at all times…what a loser you are!!
    go & support chelski o toooottss!!!!

  • Goonerman

    We Love Wenger etc etc. – you really are a dipstick. I am a season ticket holder and have been supporting Arsenal since 1966. I simply made the point that I no longer enjoy reading the negative rubbish from ignorant fans. I class you in that category.

  • We Love Wenger For What He Have Done

    @ Goonerman

    sorry pal…i was sooo frustrated after reading the negative rubbish comments in this page. Thought you were another person trying to insult arsenal..but i was wrong…There was always two different directions in your post.. i got it in the wrong way..no hard feelings mate…both of us are seaon ticket holders of this great club!!!

  • wen_detta

    hahaha I hope we will not in this worthless argument again at the end of the next season…it is simple guys..Arsenal is in the recovery time due to new lovely stadium..but this year Gooners should have 1 cup at least for the fans and there were areas in the squad that AW should and can rectify in the early season..AW know this but he wants to put a little faith on his current squad..but the gamble didn’t pay off and he know this outrage will come as he is one of the worldclass managers..I’m so sad and i know he’s also sad that he can’t convey the worldclass mentality to some of his players..i saw the interview after Wigan match..AW is looks like weeping..and it is hard for me to see him..its like 1000 needles stab to my gooner heart..

  • Goonerman

    We love Wenger – you seem more upset about our season than I do. Impossible.

    wen detta – I am sure we will have won something next season. Ahem.

  • We Love Wenger For What He Have Done

    no worries guys…
    fabregas will stay in the club for sure & we just need some additions probably to the GK position…& chamakh is certainly on his way…so no worries at all…Arsene always knows what to do!!!…i swear that we will not even think of a convo like this at the end of next season….win or lose arsenal is always what i chooose!!…