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Chapman and Wenger: how the crowd respond to our biggest losers

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Herbert Chapman’s first match in charge of Arsenal was at Highbury.  It brought in a crowd of 53,000 and  was against Tottenham.   We lost 0-1.

I have often wondered, in this era of the  Catastrophist, if the crowd  sang for him to be sacked.   If they did, they would have been disappointed, because not only was he not sacked but they had to put up with five years of fairly poor league form, and by the end  of the season crowds were around the 14,000 – which was rather sad given that we ended up second.

After that it was downhill all the way.

I’ve little idea how negative the fan base was.  In fact my only source  of information was my late father who went to the games.  My grandfather was  there too – but he died when I was 13 and in the stupid way teenagers have, I failed to talk with him much about the history of the club that is at the heart of my family.

One thing I know for sure is that through the disaster on the pitch that was most of the Chapman era (he was our most consistently unsuccessful league manager, and as we know from the catastrophists, this is what matters), there were no season tickets except in  the seating areas, which of course were tiny in  those days.

My dad did sit in the  stands sometimes but mostly he  stood, and he didn’t have a  season – so I don’t know how easy they were to get.

But I have heard two season tickets stories this season from Arsenal fans, and one from Arsenal itself this season, and  they are reflective of the situation at the club just now.

Here’s the two from fellow fans first. Neither of them are regulars at the games, but that is never ever a point of criticism from me.  I lived a year in Algiers, and three years in Devon (with a wife and two very little  children) and during both periods I didn’t see any games.  But neither made me less of a fan.  So my comment “neither are regulars” just gives some context, nothing more.

The first story says that the gaps you see in crowd at each home game are season ticket holders who are staying away in protest at Wenger’s management.  If that were the case, then it would be rather like the situation with Herbert Chapman.  The crowds didn’t like what they saw, and  stayed away.

The second (which I heard about 3 months  ago) was that the season ticket waiting list has vanished and  that you can have  a season ticket next season anywhere in stadium if you want.

The  first is  hard to prove or disprove without actually finding a load of people who are  not going.    I have two seasons – one for my partner and one for  me, and because  of job commitments my  partner can never make mid-week games.  I pass on the spare most of the time  but I think three times this season the place remained  empty.   Once I didn’t make it to a match because of my doubts about getting  back to the midlands in  the snow.

I give those examples just to show, it can happen.   The people around me miss games too – for similar sorts of reason.  Illness, family  commitments, life…  It’s not unreasonable to think that 3% or so of people  don’t make it to each match even though they have a ticket.

So I doubt the story is true, and that leads on to part two – you can have a season ticket if you  want it.

I did not believe this  at all at the time  simply because it was said before the renewal notices had gone out.    Here’s how it works.

If you want a season ticket you pay a fee and go on the waiting list.  There’s no renewal fee I think, you just sit on the list.  Maybe every four years  they write and you have  to sign to say you are  still interested, but there is no more to pay.

So the notion that half way through a season, before the club had asked its 40,000  season ticket holders if they wanted  to stay on next year, is just silly.

But what about this year?  We are now into the  season ticket renewal season.  The first thing that happened was that about a week back the club wrote to us all and said, here’s the details of the prices.  And  if you want to change seats, here’s the online registration for that.

As  it happens I do want to change places, so I logged on, and the web site said that the  chances of moving are very slim indeed because the number of people giving up  seats each year is so tiny.  I get the feeling that only a few hundred season tickets come up a year.

Which is  bad news for me, but good  news for  the club. According to their figures, the waiting list is still around 10 years – although  I think for tickets in club level it is only  a couple  of years.

So the support seems to be fairly solid – which leads me on to my main point.

If you really hate the Arsenal way of dealing with managers – of allowing people like Chapman and Wenger to carry on  year after year without a trophy, and if you are a season ticket holder, why do you give the club your money?  Why not hand the season  ticket back, save yourself £1000 or so, and watch it all on  TV?  Or go down the  pub and have a  drink?

What is the point of being a season ticket holder just so that you can complain?

Because the  season ticket sales  seem solid, and because 60,000 people or so pay to come into each  game, and because we are in the  top four each year and  so get the Euro money too, and because the TV companies like to show Arsenal, and because we make a profit on player sales  each year, we are ok financially.

Which is not only  important for the well-being on the club, but also for the season after next when the Uefa financial rules are due to start.

Now I do know that a lot of people  believe that Uefa will back off, and of course you may be right.   But if the rules go through as they  are, they will have an impact.   Fulham, for example, would not be able to go into Europe because they are supported  each year by donations from a benefactor – donations which help transfers and  wages.

Anyway, I’m not one to tell people how to behave – but I do wonder why modern supporters who don’t like what they see don’t give up their  season tickets to people who do support Wenger and  the  club.  Maybe its because, as with Chapman, they believe it will all come right in the end.

Tony Attwood

Footnote: For five years Herbert Chapman had a disastrous record at Arsenal, but then turned  it around and gave us the club we have today.  To read the story of how it all started exactly 100 years ago, click here

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Why we should have sacked Herbert Chapman

More Untold stories about Arsenal

32 comments to Chapman and Wenger: how the crowd respond to our biggest losers

  • Koen

    I don`t get how its possible not to like Arsene Wenger. He is taking the club to a higher level, including; finance, youth and facilities. Any reasonable guy would say that the future is ours; trophies will come in the next years.

    All the critics will see, and they will remember what they said and feel ashamed.

  • walter

    If it hadn’t been for the terrible injury list this season we would have won the Pl already this season. We were very close but losing almost all our key players in the final games cost us the title.
    Winning the title this season would have been a bonus for me as I was only expecting us to do it next seasons (at the start of the season that was my expectation).
    The building (Emirates) is done, the rebuilding of the team is being finalised and with now money available we will be able to add players if needed. The only thing that could prevent us buying players could be over inflated prices if Real Mad or Mad City would start again at buying all players at all cost.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Tony

    I can fill you in on Club Deck – there is a campaign ongoing to fill renewals which may be released by companies a bit under the cosh who did a 4 year deal at the start but may not be able to justify similar at Chelsea, West Ham and Spurs to be fair to their employee base in the current financial climate. I know about this because if you introduce new members to the Club and they take up a season ticket, you get a free meal at a game as a reward. I can also tell you with definite finality that the number of foreign sounds in Club deck is rising fast. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s becoming part of a holiday package. Nothing wrong with that either. Business sense you might say.

    There’s also a huge difference between saying you’re not happy and saying you want to stop going for all time, which is pretty much the situation with a 10 year waiting list at the Emirates, unless you become a Red member and go here and there. It’s like being a Tory person in 1997 or a Labour person in 2010. Most are pretty loyal indeed, but their patience may be tried beyond breaking point occasionally. Some migrate, but most stay inside and try and change the leadership. It’s like a marriage in difficulties. Either you work through the issues and grow in togetherness or split. That’s life. If you’re saying that football at Arsenal isn’t life, fine….it’s allowed to be that way. So long as all know it’s like that……

    Another thing: Wenger is paid £4m a year. It’s axiomatic from that that they are MORE open to criticism, not less so, than a YTS trainee on £20k a year or a junior player on £200k a year. That’s what getting paid more is about. You’re saying it’s a throne and the King is always right. They are paid for results and if the club want to come out and say that the results they expect are 3rd or 4th in the league, being out of their depth against Chelsea, Man Utd and Barca and throwing the Cups, fine, say so. At least the fans will know where they stand. And so will the top players……..each can then make an informed decision on what they want to do. With the facts at hand.

    It’s also axiomatic that Arsenal play the most beautiful football a lot of the time but fold under the highest of pressure – look at 2008 and 2010. Fans are questioning whether they’d prefer slightly less beautiful football occasionally and a winning side when it matters. That’s fair dos. And something Wenger must accept. Particularly after his whinging after the Blackburn game, which was lost for one simple reason. We weren’t good enough. In an away game. Up north. Something I thought we had cured this season and last. Perhaps it’s just end-of-season syndrome? Certainly won’t affect a decision whether to go next season or not…….

    Finally, it’s axiomatic that a manager who creates a french club in England may be more susceptible to criticism in slightly less successful times than one who creates an english one. People will forget the Englishness of the club in good times, more likely to say ‘why aren’t our boys allowed a go?’ if the foreigners fail and don’t try hard enough when they don’t feel like it. That’s life I’m afraid. The foreigners are here for the good times and go elsewhere if the pot of gold goes elsewhere. Few of them (not none) can understand what Arsenal meant to Tony Adams, because they grew up at other clubs and until recently (say, 2004), might not know Arsenal existed. So fans may well think ‘hold on a minute, a French manager, foreign players, no backbone, English boys excluded, what’s HAPPENED to my club?’

    You’ll note I’m documenting opinions which may be held, not saying they are mine.

    But those are the arguments going around and it’s slightly disingenuous to say otherwise………

  • Pat

    This over 30 policy will be the death of us!

  • your wrong Toni.

    The americans are specialists at this. Thet tumbled that the fans are really captive audiences and that once they become season ticket holders they rarely let them go.

    They worked out that your not customers but nearly a fixed asset

  • Pat

    Well put Rhys, especially the bit on foreign players that don’t bother when they don’t feel like it (read Nasri, Arshavin, Diaby and Denilson. Notice I don’t mention Almunia, Flappy, and Silvestre, who are just naturally poor, no fault of their own – entirely AW’s)

  • walter

    How is it possible that every time the name Denilson comes up when people talk about our last defeats. Denilson was not even in the team for our last 2 games and still people blame him for those defeats. For every defeat in fact and in half of our defeats he wasn’t even on the field.

  • walter

    BTW, great one Tony.

    You sometimes need time to build and Wenger had to rebuild after the invincibles became to old or stopped playing at all.

    If I would have a season ticket I couldn’t wait to renew..

  • Joe

    “Anyway, I’m not one to tell people how to behave – but I do wonder why modern supporters who don’t like what they see don’t give up their season tickets to people who do support Wenger and the club.”

    Again so quick to stab your fellow fans. Lets see where you would be without them. Lets see how quick the debt shrinks with a half empty stadium. Your silly assumption that your views are those of the masses are wholly incorrect. Arsenals fans are known for their lack of heart and the fact you have a stadium full of fashionista’s wanting to be snapped at the new stadium is now a problem. These people are paying your debts mate, maybe when they start wearing sky blue shirts you will want them back.

  • walter

    Why do you feel spoken too, Joe?

  • walter

    Joe,

    you wrote: “Arsenals fans are known for their lack of heart and the fact you have a stadium full of fashionista’s wanting to be snapped at the new stadium is now a problem.”

    You have any evidence on this? Or is just supposing? Will I be a fashionista’s on Sunday or the one with lack of heart? But you are right I will have my picture taken on Sunday.

    And the day they have gone to Chelsea, you can keep them there please, please keep them there.

  • Joe

    Yet another rise in ticket prices doesn’t help either. Not when the fans are constantly being fed lines about financial stability and enough money in the bank. Quite strange to put another 4% oin all tickets when so many are so hard up and the club are making so much money.

    Baffling.

  • Joe

    Just trying to throw some suggestions in as to why your support seem so divided. Evidence? Is this a criminal proceeding? We all know there is no need for evidence here or you would have supplied some top back your outrageous claims about your ‘insider info’ on corruption right.

    Sky blue is Man City.

  • critic

    @rhys
    i think u n i are on same wavelength.
    I admired wenger for his work in so much opposition, but i think he’s just being stubborn. He’s stuck in 1998 as rightly pointed out by someone in comments section in last article.

    That guy is repeating same thing over and over again for past 3 years and after every defeat by a team like blackburn.

  • BDGooner

    i think Arsene wenger’s only problem is, he is not playing the best player available in every position and he follows the pecking order too much. He did it in Blackburn when he didn’t play Diaby in his favorite position(between the playmaker and defensive midfielder). Diaby, Eboue and Nasri’s positions were altered and they couldn’t play at their best. Diaby is at best going forward and Nasri & Eboue as wide man. He could have played Eastmond in defensive midfield role and play diaby and Nasri/Eboue as midfielder and Eboue/Nasri as wide man. And why doesn’t he make the subs early when we’re loosing the game or struggling…it happens every time. But, he knows better,maybe i’m wrong….what’s your opinion on these Tony, can you explain……..

  • Joe, I don’t get this at all. My season ticket hasn’t gone up in price, in fact its gone down in price.

  • Terence Mcovern

    I suspect that we had a better class of supporter in the Herbert Chapman days……present company excluded of course 😉

  • Terence Mcovern

    Oh and another thing. In difficult games a team needs to buckle down and work together and some of our support criticise them for not doing that. Perhaps it might occur to them that fans should also do the same.
    Until it does, I would rather be part of the pull together crowd than the pull apart one. Then again I realise that my opinion is irrelevant and that decisions are made by the club leaving me just along for the ride. I choose to enjoy this ride.
    Those that are misguided enough to think that their opinion actually counts will never enjoy the ride until those employed by the club share the exact same opinion. Good luck with that.

    Didn’t we have an article about dilusion recently?
    (rhetorical question).

    Still it is always amusing to deride and laugh at those who think that they could manage a club better than professionals and who believe that spending money is the answer to everything or that even that stability in a time of crisis is worthless and that an change of manager gamble with the obvious resulting star-player loss is worth it on the off chance that we might win a shiny pot.

    The level of stupidity that some display never ceases to amaze me or amuse me for that matter.

  • Ole Gunner

    I think it’s impossible to make an intelligent anti-Wenger case. We all know it.

    It’s getting boring. He’s the manager. Will the kids stop whining now please.

  • gs

    @critic

    Funny, I don’t remember anyone complaining when we beat blackburn 6-2 at the start of the season. By no means has the team not learnt from the past, as we’ve beat the physical teams this season haven’t we?

    I don’t believe that these issues have not been addressed, as the problems from past years seem to have been solved, only for further problems to arise. Problems in the past such as beating the title rivals only to lose to the lower teams have been addressed, as wins against stoke, bolton, blackburn etc. have shown. However, that has led to an inability to beat our direct title rivals this season. If anything, a balance needs to be struck, and we can’t simply have everything.

    Moreover, it’s not as though the other teams have been much weaker – on the contrary, the rest of the league just gets stronger and stronger. How many times have the title chasing sides lost to lower end teams? I’m sure it’s not too different from us, and it’s because the rest of the league is beginning to get more cynical and defensive rather than the top sides getting weaker.

    In addition, as fans we see it as the ‘lack of ability and desire to capitalise on a rival’s slip-up’ rather than noticing that these are the very same teams that have cost our team points as well. The way in which certain teams play make it difficult for top teams to come away with points they need, as they require 3 points rather than 1, forcing the team to come out and attack and leaving them vulnerable to counter attacks. How have other teams dealt with this? Clearly not too well either.

    I think there’s the fear that one day the EPL will go the way of Serie A and becoming the most boring, cynical game ever, with just speed and physicality as it’s attractive points. Is the EPL thus regressing to its norm? After Wenger brought all his changes, coaches clearly copied the only one thing they could – improving fitness, and that has been seen thus far as all the teams are fitter but not necessarily as skilled. The problem with this is that they are better able to compete physically, and it’s always more of an advantage to be fit as a defender to cover gaps and chase people down.

    How does Wenger then address this? There’s not much he can do to make the players fitter while ensuring they are technically gifted. Remember when Flamini first came? Everyone critcized him as not being ‘arsenal material’ because all he did was run, run, run and tackle. Strange that when an English player does that, he’s seen as some kind of hero.

    Quite simply, what do our fans want? Who do we want to bring in that we’re sure would make a difference, and what exactly can Wenger do with the situation he finds himself in? I’m sure he does not want to lose games or bring the club down in any sense, but what can he do to improve the team?

    Perhaps the defence could do better, they could be allowed to communicate, as the players have mentioned that they don’t work on things they are weak at, but focus on what they’re good at. Maybe this is one issue that needs looking at.

    However, to say things like ‘we should get more players because half our players are injury prone’ is assuming that players will definitely get injured in a season. Now, this is a malady from football manager with stats attached to ‘injury proneness’ as though it’s a fact. Injuries are accidents (or not, to the more cynical of us) and cannot be anticipated despite the history of a player.

    Not everything is a fact, and a football game deals with a large amount of luck as well. That’s why people actually gamble with it – it wouldn’t be gambling otherwise, and bookmakers would go bust. Surely we can understand the human quality of having days where things don’t go your way? We cannot judge players according to a simple period of time. Just look at Rooney last season who couldn’t get into the ManU team and couldn’t thread a final pass to save his life. Yet this season he’s the toast of the EPL.

    Let’s not judge our players too soon. Let’s not forget it’s only their 2nd season together for most of them. The likes of Sagna, Vermaelen, Denilson, Song, Ramsey, Eduardo and Bendtner have only been regulars for 2 seasons or less. Let us not forget that before this, players like Toure, Hleb, Flamini, Adebayor had been with us but chose to leave, thereby disrupting any further plans and forcing Wenger to start from scratch.

    The likes of Diaby, Rosicky and Eduardo have been with us for a longer period of time but have suffered career threatening injuries and missed just as much of their seasons. Thus, our real veterans of the team are only: Almunia, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Cesc, RVP, and they have mostly done well this season when fit (except Almunia for some fans, of course).

    Therefore, instead of us condemning the team and crying over spilt milk, let’s look ahead to the next season as there’s not much to play for in this one. I’m expecting pundits to claim that Arsenal will drop out of the top 4 again, so here’s hoping that we’ll prove them wrong next time round again and win the league!

  • well-endowed gooner

    gilbertosilver, how dare you moonlight on this site while the gunnerblog is dying?

  • I believe we fell short only because of the games against the Chelsea and Man U. By losing both we have given each of them 15 points.
    Had we at least won one game against each of them we would have been on 78 points while Chelsea would be on 80 and man U on 79.
    If we had beaten both of them home and away like Chelsea we would have been on 84 while Chelsea would on be on 77 and man U on 76. It means we would have been champions a couple of weeks ago.
    I know it’s only ifs but we really could have beaten Man U away and in the big games you need luck and your best players to stand a chance. A part from the first tie against Man U(we did not have Cesc mind you) we lost a lot of players and the manager could get a balanced team on the pitch.

  • Wenger has a clear idea of what he has, where he stands and how far he wants to go. Most people (mostly fans and pundits) only know where they want to be : winning titles.
    When Walter said he had to check we are still third, I fell like doing the same.
    Sometimes I look at other players the say we could buy and find out that 4 are in a team that is fighting relegation. They want for example Green, Parker, Charlton Cole, Behrami… instead of Denilson, Song, Diaby, ALmunia! I am like wow is West Ham winning the league?
    Wenger has always outwitted rivals that had “infinite” resources with dignity and hard work. He did with Monaco against Marseille, did it with us against man U.
    But now he has to fight three to four super teams domestically and his successes mean he also has to fight another four to five in European competition where his best previous sides never fared wall.
    He is building a really super team that most opt to overlook. He started a youth project that will bring out one of the very best players of their generation to his team without having to align with the big spenders.
    The difficulty of this project is he can’t concentrate on it and say once I am done I deploy my project and the “customer” will be happy. He has to deliver every season. The real youth project is not about Diaby, Denilson or Cesc it is about Wilshere, Gibbs, Eastmond, Afobe, Thomas etc.
    The current squad is the tool or the road to the world football domination he has been working on.
    But the thing is even this squad is so good those who get the whole picture can not wait. The sad thing is many don’t realize it.

  • Arselicked

    @ Rhys.

    The points they raise maybe convincing but:
    Para 1: ” I can also tell you with definite finality that the number of foreign sounds in Club deck is rising fast”, is the same happening at Chelsea, WHam, Fulham, Tottenham? My recollection is that just before Maureen was sacked, the attendances were becoming poorer and poorer by the day. We should be highlighting and crediting AW for this rise.

    Para 2: This fails to explain differences pointed by Tony that when the league started Chapman managed to pool a whooping 53 000 supporters but by the end they had dwindled to 14 000. If you watched the Blackburn game you would have seen clear evidence of why particular styles of football do not appeal to supporters. Stadiums half empty, blokes falling asleep. Was it because the game was meaningless? Then if you are a big supporter, how does one fall asleep.

    Para 3: How does this compare with what Chapman was paid in his time?

    Para 4: When we were winning things, were we not playing beautiful football? Yes, we were. So it works and it will work. Barcelona won 5 trophies last time through beautiful football. I have to agree with you here, we were not all that good against blackburn. We missed either Song or Denilson in the middle but i don’t blame Fabianski for the goals. Fabianski was obstracted and pushed in both occassions. Maybe AW should have instructed our players to crowd and push Robinson at the other end but thats not his style. It also doesn’t take English football forward since a fair ref. would blow against it.

    Para 5: I agree with you. People are like that. Though AFC is sacrificing so much by grooming loads of English players, at a high wage bill, the Media conveniently looks aside and chooses to see a french team.

    I think its good that AW is stubborn (we all know that he is astute too). What is strange is that people want AW out, but nobody is willing to suggest the successor, in the end people talk about AW needing David Dein. Was he responsible for ‘making AFC a french team?’ Wouldn’t this be a contradiction in itself?

    What AW needs is support. he will never get it from the Media, or other teams but he could get it from AFC bloggers. But they have chosen money over anything else. We should be up in arms pointing out the unfair treatment that our team is receiving not running along with the opposition blaming our manager. How many AFC bloggers highlighted the fact that at Blackburn we were pushed, kicked, denied a clear penalty and unfair goals awarded against us: zero, zilch, nada, but we still claim to be supporters.

    Bloggers are supposed to aid AFC, but they are doing otherwise.

  • Joe

    After much soul searchinig (checking internet history) I return. Tony, your season ticket may well be the same price as I was looking at an article from 2008 :0) I won’t run.

    Alas I have less shocking news than me being wrong! Yes, that’s right!

    Arsene Wenger has been snubbed hugely by Arsenal fans voting on the official player of the month poll. Instead of embracing one of your young talents, starlets, future gods of football……. Instead of welcoming back Robin van (deep heat) Persie they vote for . . . . . . Sol Campbell, are you forgetting you have ‘best striker in the world’ Nikki Bendtner in your ranks. In a month when Arsenal have imploded, concedeing 11 goals and several defensive clangers.

    Is this really it. A 30 something defender is the best player on your team. THE YOUTH PROJECT PEOPLE, Well. Somebody explain how the hell Sol has got this in a month when you have been woeful in defence.

    Unfortunately, as mentioned, I know this was voted by fans so you can’t brush it under tha table as being a ploy of Arsene’s either.

  • Jonny

    Joe – it’s not difficult.

    Sol had an excellent month filling in for the absence of Vermaelen and Gallas.

    Does this mean that project youth has failed?

    Does one swallow make a summer?

    How about one annoying broken record making album collection?

    ???

  • Jonny

    Oh, in case you didn’t get it – you’re the annoying broken record.

    Isn’t about time you ran back to Le Grove so you can hump Geoff’s leg and stop wasting everyone’s time with your juvenile shit-stirring?

    We don’t agree with you – you don’t agree with us.

    We get it already!

    Jog on.

  • Joe

    Nice pic Jonny, was that taken in SweatboxSoho?

    When you see my name above a post, and you don’t like what I say, just jog on past mate.

  • Joe

    Oh , as you are obviously new to me Jonny I’ll tell you now. I have no fun on Le Grove. This is where the real fun is at.

    You poke fun at them and they agree with you! See how it works,
    Me:Sol is a joke
    Them: Yeah, we know.

    No conspiracy theories, no ref’s with insider info they are not willing to share (so you could say adding to any problems there may be, if he actually knows something about it). No pretty boys getting angry!

  • Jonny

    No – one pokes fun at Le Grove and they ban you.

    I don’t know what sweatboxsoho is, but I am guessing you are a regular customer.

  • walter

    Joe,
    about Sol being voted player of the month I can not speak for the other people but even I voted for him.
    I voted for him because for me it was a last tribute to an old warrior that has done a good job for us in his years with Arsenal.
    It probably was the last chance to ever give him any recognicion in his career and I think a lot of fans saw it like that.

    The other players that won it this year have been Vermaelen (twice) as a new player, then it was Cesc some 5 times in a row and Bendtner won it last month. Cesc and Bendtner… aren’t those the first representantive players of project youth – both bought at 16 years old.

  • ugandan goon

    is there just a hint of xenophobic englander about some of the comments, i believe you lot were given a lesson recently on this site about constructing a reasonable argument and how to weigh up how whether a proposition has a valid foundation before you gather the spurious information to support it, good luck england at the world cup! blackburn are great! wenger and the french frogs out b’se they dont play the english way and other such jingoistic propaganda,- i am very happy with the progress players have shown this season and to be honest i think they are not going to realise their true potential until they have faced teams like blackburn and gotten the wrong result- fabregas the foreigner is the player he is today b’se he played against allardyce’s bolton and took a thrashing, faced united and had the balls to pizza sir alex and i cant wait for the foreign legion at arsenal to line up the british upper house and paella the lot!.and for those to whom fabianski is a looser, the boy needs games under his belt to do lehman on people encroching his area, has any body forgotten nasri v hull or what an utter ruthless bastard van persie was twoseasons ago or flamini taking out all before him it is just a question of time till the mean streak appears, the fair play charts dont begin to tell the story but you can be assured wenger is not going to buy a lorik cana or some such nutcase but allow the boys to learn their football first then let their maturity spice it up naturally. i dont know how many of you stuck it up the sixth former when you were in you first couple of years at school but i am willing to bet by the time you were in your fourth form you were picked on less, prime example shawcross would not dream of going in for a tackle against song as he did against ramsey.i refer you to the battles between song and viera, it was almost like viera couldnt believe how unmovable song was!