By Tony Attwood
This year St Totters Day was the biggest I can ever remember, with even the national media jumping on the bandwagon. Indeed if you want a flavour of what other Arsenal fans got up to on the great day this year take a look at St Tots Day from the Independent.
This means of course that other clubs will now try and jump on the idea creating their own versions. The Newcastle/Sunderland one could be amusing, Chelsea/Fulham endlessly boring, Liverpool/Man U vicious but lopsided, Birmingham/Villa irrelevant.
Maybe we could have other days too, like St Bankrupts Day as rival clubs rush to outdo each other in over-expenditure, and St Fairplay’s Day as Chelsea take on all comers to see who can invent the most novel way to get around FFP regulations.
Meanwhile we’ll always remember the original was created by Arsenal fans, and it now has its own web page of history. Other clubs will copy, but Arsenal fans will always lead.
However St Tots has now passed and we are back to the regularity of things like Carragher in the Sky
“What we’ve seen of Arsenal of late is that they are with the three best teams now, and then there’s a little level to Manchester United and Liverpool just behind.”
“Liverpool just behind”???? A little more than “just” methinks, but still he was gracious after that:
“I think they’ve [Arsenal] joined those top two sides [Man C, Chelsea] that we think every season are going to go for the title. They’re so close.”
Carragher, carrying on from our discussion yesterday argues that Mr Wenger, “doesn’t need numbers, you look at the squad and the bench, they’ve got it in terms of numbers, and quality throughout.” Which is to say that Carragher can’t remember the start of the season when everyone was injured.
And he then adds, “The thing with Arsene Wenger is I feel he always wants value in the market, and he always wants to wait, he’s patient.
“Rather than what Mourinho did, he got Costa he got Fabregas. Maybe at other clubs managers feel that pressure a bit more, but Wenger has been at the club for that long he knows he’s safe in the job.”
Same old same old. What would we have done with Cesc? Got rid of Santi Caz? Swapped a player who left us because of his mythical DNA and then jumped again when the same mythical DNA didn’t match, or go with Santi Caz who seems quite happy here, has been dedicated, honourable, hard working, and seemingly a man who knows when and where he is wanted?
I don’t have an argument with Cesc going, and indeed my column in Untold is just about the only place that regularly points out that after three years any player can go if he wants via the Court of Arbitration in Sport ruling. But he’s shown he will move if the pressure is there, and Santi seems committed to us, so I think given the choice we should always go with the reliable and honourable. That to me is part of the Arsenal Way.
“If he [Mr Wenger] can’t find a certain type of goalkeeper for a specific price, or maybe a centre back or central midfielder, I don’t think he’ll get them, whereas other clubs will say “you know what, I’m going to pay the extra, I’m going to get them no matter what.”
“He spends the money like its his own, that’s the way he runs the club, you can admire that in some sense.”
It is the same old same old. But the fact is that players choose where they want to go for a variety of factors, some working in our favour some not. Arsenal’s money was limited during the years of paying the bulk of the mortgage, and then when that time had gone we bought Ozil and Alexis. How much more evidence do you want?
If more, take a look at the clubs who have bought and bought, and found they had bought dross. Liverpool, Mr Carragher.
Moving on, Per Mert made an interesting comment after the Hull game saying, “Post World Cup was not good enough, we have to admit that. But how we finish season after season is fantastic. But we have to be sharp from the start of the season. That is what we lack.”
Which means, let’s keep bringing through players who are not going to be tangled up in world cup situations. Indeed we’ve already heard all the stuff about how Alexis might not be available at the start of next season because of the Copa America. Apparently a deal has been struck – Alexis can stay with us until the FA Cup final, but then Arsenal agree he will be used by Chile for as long as they need him in the South American regular knock about.
The very top players will always be on international duty, as long as we submit to the insanity of Fifa, and so we need players who are either from countries that never qualify or young players not yet being called up, to balance the squad.
While Per looked back Jack Wilshere, quoted in the Independent, looked forward saying that finishing as runners-up to Chelsea “would set a marker for next season and would be a progression from last year.