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Blackburn Rovers. The source of much of the evil that inflicts football today

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Today’s Sponsor:

Making the Arsenal: historical fiction on acid

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Blackburn Rovers will forever be known in football as the inventors of that most pernicious evil, Rotational Fouling.  They later adopted the Rotational Timewasting approach that Bolton Wanderers developed soon after, and worked  with other clubs to combine this philosophy with the “park the team bus in front of the goal” vision of Sam “The Slug” Allerdyce to give us Zero Football.   That is their contribution to football.

But to leave it at that would be amiss of me, for  Blackburn R also gave us the first version of “Buy the Championship” which Chelsea have so clearly followed in recent years.

Among Blackburn people (I use the latter word lightly) it is known as “The Jack Walker revolution,” and in my humble opinion, it is worthy of study, not just because of our game against the knuckle on the floor beasts from the north on bank holiday Monday but because Blackburn have made such a significant contribution to all that is wrong in  football today.

Jack Walker took over the show as Blackburn R came 19th in Division II in 1990/1  and immediately started splashing millions of pounds on players.  Dalglish had resigned as Liverpool manager (having cited the stress of football management) just a few months previously, and so came back and started spending.

Despite being way  ahead in the  league, the club lost six games in a row, and had to scramble  around in the play offs and they scraped  through in the final with a penalty to get into the top league.  And  that was when the first notion that maybe money was not enough.

But they continued spending, tweaking the transfer record bringing in Shearer (whose first ever game in the league I saw, when he played  for Southampton against Arsenal at the Dell – and we lost 4-2).    And they went on buying and finished  fourth in the league.  A few years on they had won the league.  Money had worked – you could buy the  league.   From the bottom of the  second division to winning the  league in five years. Whatever it takes.

But within four years they were back to their spiritual home – the second division, having idiotically sacked  R Hodgson as manager.  Their desperation was summed up by the appointment of  Graeme Souness as manager – a manager so inept he once… oh well, you know.

Jack Walker died just after the start of the 2000/1, and left a bequest to the club – an interesting sum, but not enough to regain their former glory.  Even with him pumping millions in, they were not able to match Liverpool and Manchester United, whose trip to financial suicide was now starting.

By the start of  2003/4 they were selling with Duff, Berg and Dunn all going.  Souness went, and they turned to Mark Hughes who saw exactly where the land lay, and he combined the pickings of the benefactors money  with rotational fouling  which he started to develop.

Hughes is, beyond any doubt, one of the prime enemies of football, and in a dreadful and disgraceful FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, we saw his evil creation in all its horror and gory detail.  We also saw the effect the Oooooze revolution was having on the locals who were now bored out of their minds but the Oozian football.  The Millennium stadium stood before our eyes  with huge banks of seating at the Blackburn side unsold.  Complaints to the FA that there were 15,000 Arsenal fans who could have taken those  seats, were met with no reply, and we  saw clearly the sheer utter awfulness of what had happened.

Arsenal won, but Ooze saw the system worked and the Oooooze got the club into the Diddly Euro Cup.

Hughes refined his evil creation and now it took on a form of its own as he refined rotational fouling into a black art.  Signings using the  benefactor cash were  given the  new task – and the crowds that had already shown their contempt of the  development, moved away from  the club, as  the upper tier of one stand was regularly left empty for games.

In May 2008, the evil Hughes left Blackburn Rovers for Manchester City and in came P Ince.   When Ince was proven to be the ghastly nonentity who likes to be called  “The Guvnr” there could only  be one person to replace him, the man who had developed rotational time-wasting: Sam “the slug” Allardyce.

The  evils amalgamated and we have Zero Football.

The  club is now up  for sale. Several consortia  have had a look, but usually one look is  all is needed.  This evil parody of football is not what is wanted.

Footnote: the name of the town first appears as Blacheborne in the Domesday Book in 1086.  The origin of the name is the Old English word for bleach.

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Arsenal Reserves to play the Slugs’ XI

The Fabulous Fabianski Twins

Sagna, Silvestre, Campbell, Clichy (Eboue)

Song  (Eastmond)

Rosicky, Diaby (Marida)

Nasri, Van Persie,  Bendtner (Theo, Vela)

It is said  that Arshavin, Cesc, Almunia,  Denilson, Djourou, Gibbs, Gallas, Vermaelen, Ramsey are  injured – so just the usual nine players out.

The result…

  • Serious bruising to ankles and shins – Blackburn win 9-0
  • Gum chewing slug like creature: Blackburn win 1-0
  • Fouls: Blackburn win 18-5
  • Yellow cards: Arsenal win 4-0 (ref bent)
  • Half empty ground: Blackburn win hands  down
  • Dire and boring back passing: Blackburn 10 Arsenal 0
  • The score: Blackburn 1 Arsenal 4

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If you missed the Vermaelen exclusive interview the first part it is here.

Woolwich Arsenal FC – the complete record day by day

“Making the Arsenal” – that most wonderful of books on Arsenal.  What do you mean you haven’t  read it??????

The glorious index of all things Arsenal

47 comments to Blackburn Rovers. The source of much of the evil that inflicts football today

  • tim

    So true. Thanks Tony.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Well, I guess you need to put 15 Arsenal teenagers on loan to Blackburn in the summer so they can play pretty football 36 times a year and let us win the other two.

  • No Rhys, what we need is to change the law so the ref can punish a club for persistent fouling no matter who does it.

  • walter

    What you need is a ref who gives a warning to a player that commits a foul and makes the “from no one more of that”-gesture. From that moment the players should know that the next one to commit a foul, even a little one, gets the yellow card his teammates have earned for him.

    But you see this very rarely done these days.

  • 0.9 Calibre

    I play soccer on the comp and I obviously play with The Arsenal as my team and the Computer lets the opposition go by with warnings while am always handed cards.. boy! the developers of this particular game really pay attention to details…

    About the game.. I feel its going to be a sordid ending to a not so sordid season… Win is good but I’d personally prefer the boss to give a few diddly cup players a chance this and the next game… and btw is Vela at the Arsenal?

  • Paul C.

    I too remember Shearer’s first game against us and the subsequent rise and fall of Blackburn very clearly. It was quite remarkable what they did. Walker would be considered a pauper nowadays but back then he was mega-rich for England. You always knew they were going to flame out quickly but even I was surprised at just how quickly. That’s the difference between Jack Walker and Roman Abramovich. Jack Walker was happy with just one Championship, he just wanted Blackburn to win once while he was alive. Roman wanted, perhaps still wants, world domination.

  • Finsbury

    Why does this site not respect teams like Blackburn Rovers, that play with the traditional virtues of the English game?

    e.g.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I8p_CRR3Bk

    heh.

  • Dec

    Define ‘traditional virtues’ and also ‘the English game’.The days of the teak tough centre half chopping anybody with an ounce fo skill to the ground, the enforcer in midfield making sure skill and flair were stifled at the outset and bruiser centre forward prepared to demolish every opposing goalkeeper daft enough to get in range are thankfully over. The ‘English game’ no longer exists (thankfully), it’s been replaced by a game of skill, speed and artistry. A game promoted by enlightened foreigners like Wenger, Mourinho, Ferguson, Hiddink/Ancellotti, Coyle(give him time!!). Clubs who cling to the neanderthal approach flounder in the lower half of the league and at best cling to mid table for dear life. Those who see the light compete for trophies.

  • Paul C.

    Yep, lots of us also remember how dreary all of it was through the 70’s,80’s and especially the first half of the 90’s. Teams like Wimbledon and Watford actually had success, mainly because technique had virtually dissapeared from these shores. Then the foreigners started to come, and the neanderthal approach was no longer good enough.

    I was thinking about that while watching todays game between Villa and City as well. I wondered what English Football fans of the late 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s would have thought about what they saw. They would have assumed it was the two greatest teams on Earth playing, rather than 5th versus 6th. With the exception of Liverpool, and for briefs moments Utd (at the end of that period),Everton (84-87), Arsenal (89-92) and Forest (77-80), that period was a dark one for English Football.

    I think the quality of the PL is at a high point in terms of depth. Ever.

  • hartwick89

    Fins;
    Classic!

  • DarkPrince

    There’s one more thing that blackburn can accomplish this year… And thats the last place in the europa league by the fairplay rule…all they hav to do is avoid any yellow or red cards. They r ahead of burnley in fairplay. So in my opinion blackburn will try avoiding fouls n let arsenal play their free flowing football 🙂

  • Finsbury – I was at that Blackburn game when Pederson dived and what amazed me was that no action was taken against him. Then watching on TV I realised that the experts (I use the word in its ironic fashion) were just laughing, and not saying that the guy should banned for a while.

    And that’s the problem isn’t it. It is the way that the Bleach team play.

  • Lanre

    Tony, how was the arsenal pre-wenger in terms of discipline. Both fans and players alike. I know in this era of Wenger, we are kinda civilised. We dont hear our fans fighting others or burning down structures. We dont hear about our players misbehaving both on and off pitch. Or players boning each other’s babes. You have been around long, i only know about the wenger era.

  • Suzagooner

    Sam”the slug”Allardyce(what an app.name,love it!)aims to adopt a Mourinho style strategy to heap more misery on Arsenal “If it`s good enough for them then it`s good enough for us” He goes on to intimate that,if he achieves a result,other managers should praise him for his tactics! If he was still managing Bolton,no doubt,Jack Wilshere wouldn`t be there on loan.Come on Arsenal,pour salt on the “slug”,let`s see him frothing at the mouth!

  • shane

    At the end of the day though we need to step back and look at the bigger picture.

    I believe there is mitigating circumstances as to why we havent one anything for that period. I’ll be short and sweet and I’ll list a few reason’s.

    – Injuries

    – We have moved to a new stadium. Look at how teams like Southampton, Manchester City and Sunderland fared whilst moving.

    – Injuries

    – Chelsea have, during the last five years, had the best team in their history with the help of Roman Abramovich. And spending an absolute fortune that we cant compete with.

    – Barcelona for the last couple of years have had the best season’s in their history which is some statement when you think about it.

    – Both the above at a time when we have to cut our clth accordingly

    – Team’s were spending like there was no tomorrow but the short term gain : Pompey winning The FA Cup even United’s big spending will lead to long term pain.

    – In the case of United though, love him or hate him – when he quits people will realise how good Ferguson is. 11 League title’s and 2 Champions League’s and others.

    – With the execption of Real Madrid, the team’s that spent the most money last Summer have gone the furthest in this years Champons League.

    – We have been Runners-Up in the UEFA Champions League, the Football League Cup and The FA Community Shield in that period.

    – If you look at were we have finished in the Premier League/Premiership, we have either finished in an appropriate position all considered (injuries and bad luck) or overachieved.

  • finn

    The article makes some good points but it does not cover what is missing from the current crop to ise to the challenege against mancs or the chavs. I mean look at the mancs they are by no means complete – yet fergie gets them there every year. The problem is that I dont want to see the man sacked, I would rather his contract wasnt renewed next year IF he shows no signs of recognising our deficiencies.

    However, the real question is that barring a complete collapse next season does anybody think Gazidis has the balls to not renew Arsene’s contract?

    I read a quote yesterday (think it was arshavin) where he said Arsenal is 95% Arsene Wenger. That is worrying as its not the first time I’ve heard such a thing, the entire club being so intwined with 1 man is dangerous no matter who that man is. The worry then is that if Wenger was to go at the end of next year it would be highly likely that we would enter ANOTHER period of “rebuilding”.

    Interesting times though, i suppose

  • Same old stuff Finn. A quote in the newspaper, and you accept it. A comment about Wenger and Man U, and no inclusion of the reality of the financial situation. It’s an incomplete argument

  • simonsays

    All this he deserves one more year is bollocks.Nothing is going to change under him.He will still continue with Project Wenger.He has had his chance over the last 5 years and failed

    We are not a charity.Wenger earns £4m a year and delievers what?At any other major club in Europe 5 years without a trophy would mean the sack.

  • finn

    @Tony, My fear is that the club and everyone associated with it is so awe of Wenger that he will be offered a new 5 year contract im sure. If we dont improve im hoping Wenger will do the decent thing and walk or retire. As ive said previously the fans have such a different outlook on Arsenal these days that im sure the vast majority think there is no life without Arsene. The board, players and fans thinking this is a dangerous thing for the future of AFC

  • shane

    Fin – zzzz

  • finn

    Interesting that Brede Hangeland claims his decision to turn down Arsenal in favour of Fulham was justified as The Cottagers have reached a European Final and Arsenal have again won nothing. This is yet another illustration of how far down the pecking order we have fallen. Not only could Wenger not convince the player to join us, we now have Hangeland telling the world he made the right decision. Wenger’s response is that it’s more important to finish 3rd than it is to do daft things such as reach silly unimportant cup finals. This shows how out of touch Wenger is, does he honestly believe that footballers enjoy telling their grandchildren that they came 3rd 5 times, 4th once, and the highlight of their career was a 2nd place. Here kids, this is a copy of the table when I played for a team that came 4th, isn’t that great. Players want medals, they want to be seen as winners. That’s what fans want as well, apart from the satellite TV fans who just want to watch something for 90 minutes on Saturday. Wenger needs to realise he is not employed to save the football world from financial disaster by penny-pinching, it’s his job to win trophies. He can’t even entice Brede Hangeland to the club, a player thinks staying at Fulham as opposed to joining Arsenal is a good move. Hang your head in shame Wenger.

  • finn

    and im not saying Wenger didnt need to spend 200m over the last 4 years. He just needed to get rid of the dross (Almunia, Fabianski, Eboue, Traore, Silvestre, Sendersos, Djorou, Denilson, Vela, Eduardo and Walcott) and traded them for better players. Also he got £30m net for Adebarndoor and Kolo – where is that gone? Plus what about all these £1m side deals he has made for unknown “potential” that are all conveniently forgotten about like Nordvelt. What happended to him. I hate the hypocrisy of Wenger and his cult lecturing us about finances when Wenger wastes money quite regularly. We have the 3rd highest wage bill in the Prem. We are not that far behind Manure. How can even Lpool have players like Torres, Gerrard, Mascherino, Kuyt and their wage bill is lower than ours. It just doesnt stack up the crap the club puts out and the Apologist sheep believe.

    Wenger has always said he wants to leave a legacy. So if we sink when he goes doesnt that show we are in a mess? Where is the successor to AW – Pat Rice, Vic Akers, Gunnersauras? Tough one for Wenger and the Apologists to work out! We have only one real top class player – Cesc. Then we have a few very good players – VP, Arshavin, Vermaellen and Gallas. The rest are replaceable and doesnt it show that 5 years since the “project” was launched we have no depth in the squad? I cannot see Cesc staying beyond next season and Arshavin has probably one more move in his career. So we have a few good players who may go even if Wenger stays. Surely the point is why do we have so few good players and is Wenger that good for the club that the few we have are not likely to stay anyway cos we are not winners? Like the politicians giving us spin and weasily words in the election campaign I feel I cant trust Wenger to do the right thing but at the moment like the election candidates he is the only election choice we have!

    And the odl wingbat has said 2 or 3 maximum players,what a joke,heres a point that always strikes me,but wengerites don’t answer a question with its suitable answer,they instead insult u,and throw many red-herrings,wenger says ‘young’ so for arguments sake- djorou,nortviedt(who wenger spent money on,sent him on numerous loan spells),bartley are all young,and supposedly future stars,vermalean isnt exactly about to earn his pensions neither,now would make any sense at all if wenger were to sign 18 year old phillips from blackburn? it would mean that this 5 years of as u call ‘sacrificing for long term’ was unneeded,cos the experienced campbell,ljungberg,pires etc..he sold were supposedly as a result of cesc,clichy,diaby,velas etc… being able to take over,right? so what sense does it make when he hardley uses merida,and he ends up leaving,or sendores goes(although im happy),if he buys the 2 underaged blackburn players,isnt that further pushing us into another 2-3 ‘transition’,if he spent £15m on 2 of them,wouldnt that money be logically better spent on for example frey,whod provide instant worldclassness,for about 2 to 3 years,when scezney would be ready to take the reigns,similarly if wenger doesnt play the nortviedt,barleys,merida,vela,lansbury,jet,barazites it means 2005 onwards was a complete waste of time,he finally looked like he found a formula,then he manages to let 3 dms leave in one season,tell me thats not stupidity

  • shane

    Finn – stop your whining you loser. You fails to see the bigger picture of what is going on at Arsenal. Arsenal could have spent 200 million on players over the last four years because I am sure the banks at the time would have been happy to lend them that. What Arsenal and Arsene Wenger did was sacrifice being competitive for a short period of five years in order to pay of their debts and then be in a financial position to challenge for twenty or thirty years. Good management does’nt drive a business (and Arsenal is a business) into the ground for short term gains – Northern Rock did it and look what happened to them. Arsenal has a solid financial plan which now affords them considerable funds which are all self generated. We do not need an Abramovich or Glazer to be competitive. We can now spend money on players and still be in the black. Arsenal and Wenger should be applauded for that – it sometimes takes people to see the results before they appreciate the good work behind it.

  • finn

    Not that i am surprised but wengers tfr comments are disappointing. once again he is talking up his squad saying they will get better and improvements have been made. the max he will bring in i believe is 2 players and probably one of those is chamach and he says if gallas goes he will sign a defender. he is now saying djourou can do a job,the guy is injury prone dont we have enough of those players in our squad and lets be honest when he as played if anyone can remember he still as a lot to prove. virtually everyone on this forum agrees we need a gk,in central defence i believe we need 2 players.def midf who have we got only song and whilst he as improved immensely thats because who do we compare him with at the club,the answer is there is nobody else. at the start of the season i was one who thought we were spoilt for choice in the wide midfield role,but as the season draws to its close i dont feel that way anymore. rosicky s/be moved on,walcott other than pace as not delivered,arshavin lacks total commitment to the club which leaves nasri probably the pick of the bunch,but how many goals as he scored. up front we have vp who is not an out and out striker but with cesc they are our best players,but how many games as vp played since joining us he seems to miss half a season with injuries. edwardo and vela should in my opinion go which leaves bendtner who at present is not good enough to start with vp in a 4 4 2 formation. we all have our own opinions on players and i am sure some will disagree with how they percieve players but by my count we need 5 players not in addition to but to replace the ones who have not proved themselves. my feeling howsever as always with aw is that he will keep average players on high salaries and use any excuse not to buy. your weekend,sorry i cant get out of this depression.

  • Gf60

    @Finn
    Why do we get the impression that you are the rarest of the rare… a semi-literate Spud?

  • Ozziegooner

    Guys, I think Finn is entitled to his opinion. Whilst I may not agree with a lot of what he says, he makes points that are on the minds of many Arsenal fans. The reason why I like this blog is because unlike the dreaded grove opinions are argued and respected. It is very frustrating because again we have come so close but through injuries, dodgy refs etc we’ve fallen short again. I do believe we have the potential to be the best especially when you consider what the other teams have to spend to stay in front of us, but I also believe that we need additions to get us over the finishing line. A blend of experience to go with the youth we’ve heavily invested in.

    P.s some of you may not like youth but you only need to look at Chelsea. They have no youth and so have to spend millions. They are in a lot of trouble as nearly all their players are approaching 30 or over. This means Roman has to continuosly spend money and Liverpool who have fallen behind now realise that they need to look at their youth policy because they are not able to financially compete anymore.

  • shane

    Ozziegooner
    May 2nd, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    agreed

  • finn

    @Gf60 Is that your answer when the going gets tough? OR have i just pointed out some harsh facts that the wenger worshippers cannot answer?

  • shane

    well it looks like wenger wont be buying any midfield players this summer. wenger states that the midfield has not been the problem this season and that we have dominated most games in that area.i wouln’t disagree with that although i would like another defensive midfield player for next season.a good ie of the midfield i thought was at chelsea.i was at the game and thought we controlled the midfield area comfortably.we all know the defence has been the biggest problem and if he can get better players than what we already have then we have as good a chance as anyone next season.i was hoping for 4 players but it looks like a max of 3.reading between the lines it looks like a new keeper,another centre half and chamark are the players and areas wenger is looking at.i always thought that if we can get the defence right then our attacking play would take care of itself.although i dont mind this system that we currently have i get the feeling that wenger will go back to 4-4-2 next season.we have ben exploited in wide areas to much this season we need to be more solid without the ball.

  • I would agree that Finn is allowed to make his points, and I agree that a lot of people on the blogsphere are saying all this.

    But the fact is that it is the same old stuff over and over again.

    I quote

    “Interesting that Brede Hangeland claims his decision to turn down Arsenal in favour of Fulham was justified as The Cottagers have reached a European Final and Arsenal have again won nothing. This is yet another illustration of how far down the pecking order we have fallen.”

    No, this is rubbish. There is not a shred of real evidence that Hangeland actually said anything remotely like this, it just appeared in the papers. And if you want a web site that starts from the premise that what is in the football columns of the press is based on any sort of truth, then it is not this one.

    What Finn’s arguments always do, and they never vary in this, is state some semi-crazed view without proof, and then draw conclusions on this.

    We had it a few weeks back with the “Cesc is about to go” piece he wrote. From that he concluded that Van Persie would quickly follow, and from that he concluded that the rest of the team would go.

    And this is the argument put against the positive view expressed here, which draws on evidence and logic.

  • Ozziegooner

    We definitely need another defensive midfielder. Song is the only player who fulfills his role in this position. He is a real spoiler and we miss him when he is unavailable. Diaby isn’t naturally defensive and Denilson gets caught out if position from time to time. The two biggest losses for me are Flamini and Diarra. Quick, fierce and offer so much protection. It’s a crying shame that both of these players were allowed to leave. In saying that, both were fools for thinking that the grass was greener on the other side as neither is a first team regular.

  • Ozziegooner

    Fair point Tony. A case of the glass being empty and not half full.

  • Paul C.

    The trouble with people like Finn and so many other of the doom and gloomers is that they see 3rd place in the League and a CL QF as a disastrous season. If you start with the idea that 3rd or 4th is a disaster then you seldom are going to be happy. No matter what we do to try and make them see sense they will continue to live in their own delusional world where Arsenal should win major honours every season.

    I just finished watching Liverpool against Chelsea. I think we know what a disastrous season would look like. Some might say 7th place and a failure to get out of the CL knock-out stages. That is kind of what Liverpool are now looking at. Are we a “bigger” club than Liverpool? It can happen to anyone. Chelsea have spent 500million to ensure it hasnt happened to them in the past 6 years.

    I would call 7th place a bad season. I wouldnt even call THAT disastrous. To me disastrous would be those years in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s where the team wasnt even relevant. In the 70’s we had three straight seasons of fighting relegation battles. In the 80’s we had the Don Howe years. In the 90’s we had GG’s last few poor seasons, enlivened only by some decent Cup exploits. We havent had a disastrous season in over a decade. It doesnt look like we will have one anytime soon.

    But if you start out with the idea that “Arsenal should win stuff every year” then you are just setting yourself up for dissapointment.

  • Joe

    But Allardyce said: “You play a part as a manager, before, during and after a performance to get a result.

    “If that infuriates the opposing manager from time to time then that’s fantastic, isn’t it?

    “We don’t play here like we did at Bolton, and we didn’t really play like that at Bolton, only just against them.

    “That was the best way to play to beat them. When you find a solution then you put that in place.

    “Then you are criticised instead of praised. As an opposing manager, he came out and criticised what we did.

    “You just smile and say, ‘I’ve managed to outwit you again and my tactics have been better on the day than yours have’.

    “I’ve managed to achieve a result against what has been one of the top sides in the Premier League for a long time.

    “If it’s good enough for Inter Milan against Barcelona then it’s good enough for me!”

    And he’s right!

  • Paul C.

    Joe – yes, Allardyce is absolutely correct, if his players are doing within the letters of the law. Nobody has a problem with that. But it is a fine line between physical play and outright aggression and too many times Allardyce has sent out teams that have crossed that line.

    We are a lot tougher now, as long as Song is playing I am not too worried about the physical stuff. He has become so important to us this season.

    I’d be happy with a draw. That cements 3rd place and we could relax for the final home game, and beat Fulham, who won’t want to get ANY injuries 3 days before their big night.

  • Sean

    Paul C says the PL is at a high point in terms of depth.
    Is that why on Sky yesterday the four journalists on ‘Sports Supplement’, without batting an eyelid, declared the winner of the PL to be whoever was top this morning……i.e. the two games at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge (v. Stoke and Wigan) next week are, in their opinion done and dusted.

    And those two teams have had good seasons!!!!!
    I don’t call that strength in depth.

    Now the 1950s had strength in depth because pretty much any one of ten teams (including Arsenal) had a chance of winning the league.

  • Gf60

    @Finn
    I believe your “facts” are mere suppositions. Sure, a better keeper wouldn’t hurt. Theo consistently living up to expectations wouldn’t hurt either. But overall the best way of answering you is to repeat my point made to “Critic” on the 29th.

    You may well disagree with the points scale I used. Fine. Come up with a better. But there is a reality coming through that we are getting better.

    ““Many” seem to agree that the current squad of the past three years simply cannot hold a candle to the Invincibles (2001-4), [let alone the side which preceded the Invincibles (1998-2001)or that that took over from them (2004-2007)].

    How strange it is then, that when measured against the best of Europe (CL) on the basis of points (1 point for getting to group stage, 2 for last 16, 4 for quarter final, 8 for semi final and 10 for losing finalist)it is the current squad that has achieved more than twice as much as both the Invincibles and their predecessors.

    1998-01 six points;
    2001-04 six points
    2004-07 fourteen points
    2007-10 sixteen points…with cripples, has beens, never was’s/will be’s, kids and OAPs.

    Hell Arsene. How do you put up with the “many”? “

  • goonergerry

    It really isn’t a surprise to see a Chelsea fan arguing in favour of anti-football -exploiting weak referees and justifying bullying as a means of stopping more skilled opponents. Ancellotti may have improved the style at Chelsea this season, but he has a long way to go to capture the soul of that soulless club.

  • Paul C.

    Sean – uh, in the 1950’s the PL didnt exist. Sorry mate, but if you need a quick history lesson the PL started in the early-90’s.

    Any why would the fact that pundits think that the top-2 teams in the League will win their final home matches of the season against 2 mid-to-lower table teams such a surprise to you? So to you, is the only way the PL can be considered to have depth when the teams in the bottom of the League can go away to the top-2 and win? Man, you have high expectations.

    Sorry, but if you want to argue against the PL being at a high point in terms of depth, please get your facts right and provide some actual decent evidence against that statement.

    Besides, 10 teams having a chance to win doesnt mean strength in depth. It could just as easily mean weakness of a League and lack of any good teams. I make my statement based on the quality of Spurs and City in 4th and 5th. Besides Wolves and Utd, what other good teams were around consistently in the 1950’s?

  • Gf60

    I hate to admit it but (gulp;panic attack) Blackburn weren’t at all bad in the 50s and early 60s. So were Burnley. Asfar as we were concerned, 1958 a good year, then Tommy Docherty got injured and we only finished 4th. But we’d hammered Everton away 6-1 (then, their record ever home defeat. Somebody else equalled that this year. Chortle) and Bolton, then top of the league at Highbury by the same score. Those were fun nights.

  • Paul C.

    Gf – exactly. Apart from Wolves in the first half of the 50’s, and Utd in the 2nd half, there was a lot of “so-so” around in the post WW2 years. Money was nowhere near as important. Lots of clubs had a chance to win the League.

    Does that mean “strength in depth” or “lack of quality””? I suppose that is a matter of opinion. I personally see it as lack of quality.

  • Joe

    Well, Big Sam seems to have the blueprint as well, looks like Arsene is going to have to come up with a new plan A.

    Can someone here please inform me when St Totteringhams day was this year as I can’t do the maths myself.

  • Joe

    GoonerGerry – We all know your lot like to use this ‘anti football’ phrase a lot but we also know it means nothing. I could say in reply that Arsenal TRY, and fail quite often, to play side show football, akin to that seen by the side of a 5-a-side pitch, practiced by starry eyed kids and South Americans on beaches with no thought to play on these shores.

    Do you not realise that our (and Blackburns and anyone else that beats you) ‘anti-football’ is a good way to beat you, and that your team have no answer to it. It’s legal, it’s fair and no amount of your childish name calling can change that.

    If you insist on the same style next season then expect more of the same. If you don’t like it then get a plan B (and a defender with a bit more positional sense than Vermaelen).

  • DOGFACE

    SIGN STEPHEN IRELAND………SIGN STEPHEN IRELAND………SIGN STEPHEN IRELAND………SIGN STEPHEN IRELAND………SIGN STEPHEN IRELAND………

  • Sean

    PC
    Association Football in this country didn’t start in 1992!!!!!
    …..and remember, all they did was stick the word ‘Premiership’ instead of ‘First’ in front of the word ‘Division’ to get it started.
    Derrrrrrrrrrr!

  • Sean

    Back to Paul C
    Facts you want?
    What about Spurs……….67 away games at Arsenal, Chelsea, Man. U. and Liverpool without a win………and they’re one of your ‘strength in depth’ teams.

    What do you want?
    Competition or procession?
    In 2010, a huge chunk of Premiership football is like watching the Harlem Globetrotters.