By Tony Attwood.
I have been waiting for the “Cech spotted at airport” story to emerge, but it seems no, no one is going to oblige. So instead we have Adrian Durham in the Mail.
Now Adrian Durham is a special sort of man. He knows. In fact he knows everything. He is, in short omniscient. Thus he speaks…
and on another occasion…
And so forth. But then who needs consistency when you know everything and can tell the future?
So, the almighty Daily Mail, the newspaper that along with a number of others, supported the Black Shirts in England in the 1930s. Of course that was a long time ago, and the Mail doesn’t support the unification of Britain with Germany any more under fascism any more. In those days it said yes to European Union. Now it supports the Conservative Party instead – but we are all entitled to move a little over the years.
I won’t bore you to death with all the things the manifestation known as Durham the All Knowing actually says, but one that he likes to ramp out is that, “Wenger has been too cautious about giving contracts to players over 30”. He says that within the “Arsene Wenger is finally listening to me” piece.
So that would be Bergkamp would it? Oh no, of course not. Then David Seaman perhaps (since this is era of talking goalkeepers). Except David stayed until he was, oh, what was it, hang on, calculator in hand, 40.
In fact, finding players who were over 30 and who then were refused a new contract with Arsenal and then played well, is rather hard. Certainly Robert Pires, the man adorning the only player related shirt I own. He left, and hardly played in the following year because he got the injury I suspect Wenger knew could happen again. Although he did return, the sharpness, pace and brilliance was fading. Letting him go when we did was a superb move – although I was desperately sad.
“Wenger won’t have 30+ year olds in the team” was one of those media fantasies that became true because the press repeated it. Like the wild claims that Arsenal got more red cards than any other team in the early Wenger years (you could tell that was untrue since the papers never actually told us how many reds any other team had).
Or the “Wenger is accused of…” which the press wanted to publish upon Mr W’s arrival at Highbury, but couldn’t as he repeatedly outwitted them. And that’s what people like the Durham being can’t stand. It is not that hard, but Wenger does it brilliantly. He makes them look fools, over and over and over again. And my goodness do they hate it!
Here’s what the “writer” (I use the word in its broadest sense) in the newspaper (ditto) says.
It would be conceited of me to take any kind of credit for the changes in recent seasons that have brought trophies to Arsenal and potentially re-positioned them as future challengers for the big honours – Champions League and Premier League.
But it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wenger has U-turned and is now following the instructions I’ve been giving him for just under a decade….
He has gone back on his previous beliefs about how the club should be run and it all being about the stadium being paid for. It’s about the man understanding the fans, and realising that a top-four place cannot be presented to knowledgeable supporters dressed up as success. The Emirates faithful deserve better and there should be at least a polite ripple of applause for Wenger finally relenting.
So what is the thesis exactly?
Apparently it is this. Mr Wenger talked about “financial doping” meaning the buying of clubs by the oil rich, and then allowing them to lose vast sums of money. Durham says Wenger should not have said this when he “stood by” and “watched Arsenal fans exploited and over-charged simply to watch football.”
“A club fleecing fans is despicable….
“Wenger was at the centre of that Arsenal policy for far too long, and to make it worse he didn’t even spend the money…. At any point during those years of moaning Wenger could have spent big. Arsenal have huge assets to borrow against, huge guaranteed incomes season after season, but all that seemed to matter was a top-four finish….