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October 2016
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Wenger’s Arsenal: The Enemy Within.

By Tai Emeka Obasi

Wenger’s Arsenal: The Enemy Within.

Arsenal is a global institution that extends far beyond the English horizon. Not just on playing turfs but on the stock market terrains of big business empires. A jigsaw of a dream that took one lanky genius a chunk of his productive years of toil is finally falling into one very pleasant piece of monumental legacy.

Arsenal was already a brand when Arsene Wenger arrived in England nearly 20 years ago to take the reins as its football manager. Not that the north London outfit did any other known business besides football but the coming of this always-wearing-a-thoughtful-mien French took a different turn from the norm. His radical change in playing style, dieting and the kind of players he retained and signed for the club were total departures from those days of 1 – 0 to the Arsenal.

That he garnered trophies while playing the best brand of football ever witnessed on British shores was a pleasant bonus to followers, who grew astronomically as the Gunners entertained match after match.

However, the ex-Monaco FC manager did not come to England with just trophies in mind. A conservative to the core, Le Prof came to the home of conservatism and even improved on the best aspect of it. Having colonised many nations across the globe, including my own Nigeria, Great Britain were and is still known to be relentlessly conservative – sowing for tomorrow is a major axiom of this appreciable practise of improving mankind.

So when Wenger came to Arsenal and England and perfectly imbibed this custom, the workaholic manager must have expected accolades. The admirable plan, painstakingly executed in moving the club from the traditional but far too small a stadium in Highbury to the glorifying modern edifice christened the Emirates that now accommodates his intended expansion of business frontiers should have attracted unquantifiable respect for the man behind the curtains. His insistence that such institutional pride like Arsenal should not be sold to one man that would most likely run the club like a charity outfit should have cornered huge cheers for the dogged workaholic.

But none did or put more succinctly, none appreciably did.

Somehow rivals, who could see as far as where this bean pole was driving Arsenal to, evidently ganged up, even if clandestinely, to stop him in his tracks. Wenger’s early trophy successes, especially with the brand of football he dished out must have been a source of envy to his then bitterest rival, Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson,  British, always made certain of having good number of English/British players. Wenger inherited a core English-dominated Arsenal, made them even better. Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, David Seaman, Winterburn all continued with Wenger and retired from Arsenal.  He raised Ashley Cole from the youth team, replaced Adams with Sol Campbell…however the fact that he replaced Wright with Thierry Henry, brought Patrick Vieira, signed Emmanuel Petit, Nicholas Anelka, Silvian Wiltord, Roberto Pires – all French – started a conspiracy theory that grew and stuck.

Whispering in relevant circles into right ears made it appear Wenger was out to ruin the English talents. But a man like Wenger is transparent and honest to a fault. He made it clear English players were unreasonably expensive. He would be the last man that would be partisan…it certainly isn’t in his blood. Wenger was leading Arsenal to another level and he needed to save funds to actualise that. He had limited funds and if three better players from France, Holland and Africa could be got at the price of one average English player, he didn’t hesitate to do the right thing.

The fact that he went 49 league matches unbeaten with just Cole and Campbell as English regulars might have infuriated his rivals even more and the conspiracy theory grew. And if you ask me, that was when the AAAs and WOBs started growing.

I truly wasn’t a fan of the English League because the matches weren’t being televised in my country then. But when it became the EPL matches started coming live to Nigerian homes, more so when Nigerian players such as Celestine Babayaro and Nwankwo Kanu got involved.  I remember watching Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea in an FA Cup final in same era without an English starter.  So, why was Wenger’s ‘sin’ adjudged to be so terribly different? But now that Arsenal are done with transition, Wenger has Danny Welbeck, Callum Chambers, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Ox Chamberlain, and Kirean Gibbs as English regulars once they are fit. Why hasn’t this theory been banished?

How did this mother of all gang ups garner such monstrous momentum on all fronts to downplay the indefatigable efforts of an honest man, who was not only poised to make indelible foot marks on playing style but also firmly attuned to driving the beauty of the game far beyond his generation?

Where is the famed English courtesy, its equity and fairness in officiating matches involving Arsenal? Why did officials clearly aide Ferguson  in matches involving Arsenal while the studious French laboured to bring Arsenal close to the business strength of Manchester United? Why did this ‘aggression’ extend to Jose Mourinho’s favour immediately the Portuguese arrived the English shores and seemingly accepted being the one to publicly taunt Wenger and Arsenal out of business?

Could it possibly be that Wenger’s strong resolve that the rules of the game must be fairly obeyed to the letter was and is still distorting mischievous balance? Or is his non-negotiable insistence that the game must be run with profit-making in mind, hence birth of FFP, the main crux eating up the cookies of the sugar daddies, who see the beautiful game as an easy avenue to display their wealth in such bizarre manner to point of ill-gotten? Or are Her Majesty’s Home and Revenue Offices particularly incensed with the man, who has been trying to shrink revenue accruable via players’ wages on weekly bases?

Could obvious answers to these questions hide under the fact that money maketh things, mostly evil, possible? Could it be just one gigantic swoop of gang up initiated by the business moguls, who usually pointed in the direction of oil as source of their questionable limitless revenue, to have an undercover deal with the press, PGMO, Home Office, the FA, Her Majesty’s Revenue Board and more to cut the excesses of Wenger who was churning out operational modalities that were alarmingly derailing their (sugar daddies) cold sails?

Arsenal currently top the EPL table…but can anyone bet they’d be there by May? They’ve been here many times before, only to be dumped out of it by clear evil officiating, terrible press insinuations and worldwide condemnation that, ‘you have to spend to win trophies’. While the hapless football world bought this garb…the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Athletico Madrid won respective leagues with far lower budgets than their hitherto dominating giants in same Leagues. Why hasn’t Arsenal, despite the labours of Wenger, thrived just once? Simple – The gang up was sown deep!

But as a patient and meticulous workaholic like Wenger expressionlessly waits for his last laugh and ready to forgive all that participated in this huge gang up, the other side of his heart must be tumbling nervously on how to ever forgive the other enemy that ate him so mercilessly and deep – The Enemy Within!

The AAAs, WOBs and their likes! How on earth did Arsenal fans (are they really?) get hooked onto the media spin and turned blind eyes to a gang up so glaring to even the blind? How could they have turned against a man they should actually be adoring for bringing their club from just one English outfit to one of the truly best clubs and about the most transparently-managed outfit in global football?

How could those that call themselves Arsenal fans allow to be hoodwinked by the Portuguese braggart called Mourinho that only trophies mattered in the game? How many of Ferguson’s trophies could have gone the Scot’s way in a more balanced atmosphere and fairly managed football league?

While Wenger toiled sleeplessly and clubs with limitless funds turned his players and took them away, these so-called Arsenal fans cursed the man as if he didn’t have enough pains already watching players he nurtured to greatness leave for rival clubs that effectively used them against him in matches.

While the French tactician battled with the Arsenal board on how not to derail from a journey they were nearing finishing line, these set of ‘fans’ continued to rain abuses at a man, whose only known loves are football and Arsenal.

These set of ‘fans’ easily succumbed to other fans’ taunts, especially Chelsea’s with that gleeful,’trophyless Arsenal’.  Even when the trophies have been coming for over two years now, these same brainwashed enemies in our midst are again swallowing the stupid bile that ‘only the EPL title mattered as a trophy’.

Did somebody educate these set of fans that if Wenger wanted to strive for just personal glories in name of trophies he could have taken the Man City job when the sugar daddies took over the club to really get back at Ferguson and Mourinho…and take this home – if Wenger did, he would have won at least three EPL titles and the Champions League by now.  If Wenger was interested in managing best players in the world for easy victories, he would have taken the Real Madrid job. If he did Real Madrid would have been far better for it.

But Wenger wanted any success to come with Arsenal.

Just before the trophies started coming these AAAs and WOBs wanted Wenger sacked. Sacked? How could any Arsenal board ever pay Wenger back with such ignominy?  These set of ‘fans’ wanted Jurgen Klopp. It’s early days yet but seeing Klopp and Liverpool swinging like yo-yo in the league presently doesn’t offer me much conviction that I ever wish to see Arsenal in same brand. Mourinho might have won his truckload of trophies but I never wish for any day I’d wake up to see  my Arsenal has lost nine out of just 16 league matches played.

Today same set of ‘fans’ are calling for Wenger to be replaced with Pep Guardiola at end of season. Be careful what you wish for! I adore Guardiola’s style but if he’s truly interested in managing Arsenal, he should get a good tailor for patient garbs and wear them consistently until Wenger says, ‘I’m done with active football’.

For those who truly love football Le Prof is the father of the modern game. He’s head and shoulders above anyone else. Under same circumstances most men would have cracked. But he didn’t. I’m dreading the moment Arsenal will line out again without the ex-Monaco coach in the dugout.  While that day rolls along, the Arsenal Board MUST allow Wenger to willingly quit any time he chooses. No amount of trophies in the world can ever equate to what this great man has done for Arsenal and football. There has been one Wenger. Let those who believe in him adore him now. There won’t be another when he’s gone.


Two more anniversaries

  • 12 January, 1912  The Derby Daily Telegraph reported meetings of the English and Scottish League regarding claims of unpaid player transfer fees including James Maxwell who after two appearances for Arsenal mysteriously “went missing”.
  • 12 January 1993: Cup Match 7 in Arsenal’s Cup Double season.  Arsenal 2 Nottingham F 0, in League Cup round 5.  Ian Wright scored both goals.  All in all Wright scored 10 in the FA Cup that season and five in the League Cup.  No Arsenal player has ever scored more than 15 Cup goals in one season.

The Untold Books

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99.  For more details and to buy a copy please click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.

Forthcoming titles:

  • The Arsenal Yankee  By Danny Karbassiyoon
  • Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970.  By John Sowman.  Introduction by Bob Wilson.



76 comments to Wenger’s Arsenal: The Enemy Within.

  • colario

    It can be argued that Arsene was a fan of English football long before arriving in England.

    it can be argued that Arsene was an Arsenal fan long before coming to Arsenal.

    It can be argued that Arsene has long been a believer in skillful football.

    Why else and indeed how else would he have persuade the most skillful player of his generation in England, one Glen Hoddle to leave his beloved spuds and go and play for Arsene – in France of all places!

  • proudkev

    Great comments Tai.

    You will find on the WOB blogs that there are a lot of ‘opposing’ fans pretending to be Gooners. So the numbers are a lot smaller than the media would have us believe. Personally, I find it bizarre that the genuine gooners amongst them seem to be so ignorant about what the club and the manager had to navigate during the stadium move and the huge growth of our club. I did not realise people could actually be that stupid.

  • para

    Some people play fair others do not.
    Those who do not, they use any and every ploy to bring down an opponent, especially if the opponent has some superior skills.
    Sadly, this is evident in the world.

  • Tai

    Thanks Proudkev…

    Of all my worries in the world it’s the AAAs and WOBs that give me sleepless nights. I can imagine how Wenger feels seeing some stupid banners from his own fans.

  • colario

    The aaa and the WOB and every pundit analyst and critic of Arsene say that Arsene ‘doesn’t do defense.’

    With that firmly set belief it is strange that none of them can explain how ‘not doing defense’

    Arsene accepted the gift of Sol Campbell (the best central defender in the land at the time) from the spuds gift shop.

    And as we know for a small donation to the chives looser fund came to the rescue of the best goal keeper in the land.

    There is none so blind as those who don’t want to believe.

  • Jack Chatterjee

    Great article Tai. Le Prof has been the man who has stood by the club during the tough times and has made a huge personal sacrifice for the club. However when he decides to leave and most genuine gooner’s would agree that only his own decision would dictate his moving away as a manager. I don’t believe after Le Prof decides to retire as manager he will be moving away from Arsenal. I do believe he would be involved in some significant capacity relentlessly working to better the club. Having said that Le Prof will himself know it won’t be easy for a new manager to take the first team forward the way Le Prof envisages better than Pep. I am a firm believer that Arsene would take the decision for the better of the club rather than his own personal goals. I do believe if Pep were to come in and manage Arsenal, that move would emanate in Le Profs mind first and may be instigated by him. Whichever way the coin falls ‘In Arsene we believe’ always have always will. We can’t imagine Arsenal without Arsene just doesn’t happen.

  • chris

    We anti Wenger fans ARE fans. We want Arsenal to do every bit as well as you do. After 7 – 8 years of under achievement while AW pursued his self indulgent, personal crusade about beautiful attacking football … in the last 12 / 13 months things have in fact improved. Because : –

    > DMF … he stumbled over Coq some 13 months ago, having not agreed the need for a DMF ever since Gilberto left. He seriously imagined Arteta could do it. Now we are more solid at the back – including with Flamini as DMF.

    > Game style …. became more flexible over a year ago pre that match vs. Man. City which we won away. We can now absorb pressure and hit on the break. N.B. Senior players told AW we had to change !! No longer the AW cavalry charge and ignore defending.

    Lo and Behold …. we have done a whole lot better …. or did you not understand why ? Meanwhile …..

    > Fitness and preparation …. summer 2014 (after years of ignoring his medics’ pleas for graduated training) Shad Forsythe was brought in from the Bundesliga. Forsythe agreed with the Arsenal medics’ pleas and told the German press he found a regime here that was (quotes) prehistoric and it would take him at least a year to get it right.
    [Unfortunately we also have a number of proven injury prone players. Wilshere, Oxlade, Walcott, Arteta, Welbeck etc.]

    Still Not Sorted and what may yet hold us back …….

    > Team selection, substitutions, failing to rest players / bringing them back too early. EG. Sanchez whom all informed fans wanted to be rested. But NOT Wenger.

    > Transfer market – where AW remains a liability. A senior scout was quoted as saying Wenger’s ” indecisiveness was frightening.”

    > Above all …… the lack of balance between skill and strength has been a problem ever since he broke up the Vierra / Campbell team. We have certain players who are artistic with the ball but not much good at fighting for it. As soon as the slower, wintry pitches and wintry weather come along …. we struggle (EG. at Southampton) Wenger just doesn’t get it. Complains about the players’ failure to win 50/50 challenges. But they are his players, his lack of such balance.

    Let us all hope and pray that – with those changes which HAVE been introduced – we can win things … like the EPL !!

  • John

    If it worries you that the English Premier league is so full of “corruption” and that it is full of “clear evil oficiating” and that a lot of arsenal fan’s and supporters are AAA’s and WOB’s i suggest you go back to watching your own countries Nigerian football league.

  • Henry Root

    Wenger is a victim of his own phenomenal success and loyalty. He is an honourable man in a profession full of guttersnipes. He has taken the flak that if it needed to be cast in the first place should have been directed at the Board.
    He is a magnificent manager who year after year remotivate a team that has had to refinance itself after building a stadium which is regularly full. He is scorned by fans who will only realise their folly when he is gone and we strive to replace him. His shoes will be incredibly hard to fill. We have been privileged to have him at our club for twenty years

  • Jambug

    Deans started. Diabolical penalty award for united. Webb backs him. What a surprise.

  • finsbury

    No. Not surprise.
    The appointment of a Fixer like Dean to a Utd game where he is palpably or can be seen (by all who are watching) to be fixing yet another game is no surprise. It was always predictable. And such appointments and decisions will remain predictable for the rest of the season too.

    How far will or can the the pgMOB push Man. Utd up the table?

  • Vinnie Losada

    Relentlessly conservative?! Have you been paying attention to the rhetoric coming out of colleges and much of the media? Also, what has Cameron’s cuckservative government actually conserved? Not much, I would say.

    Mike Dean acting the maggot in the Newcastle vs. Man Utd game. Ridiculous penalty for Man Utd amongst other terrible decisions, and only 25 minutes into the game.
    My favourite moment so far has been the BathTub Sprout commentator saying that Mike Dean is engaging in “game management”! Because “he has to, really” apparently! I thought that was something the players did, the ref surely has to simply enforce the rules, not make tactical decisions or try to ensure entertainment!

  • Jambug

    It’s getting worse by the minute.

    Fellini should be off.

    Newcastle should of had a penalty.

    It would be unbelievable if it wasn’t so predictable.

  • Jambug

    0-2 United.

    But the fact is United shouldn’t of had there pen. Newcastle should of had one and Felani should be off.

    It should of been 1-0 to Newcastle with United down to 10 men.

    Newcastle back in it 1-2 now.

    Maybe Deans work wont be rewarded.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Is mike Dean capable of just doing a match fairly without bias?
    He is supposed to be a Liverpool fan FFS!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Erm….ok maybe spoken too soon, but we shall see…..

  • Jambug


    Even Dean cant overlook the attempted removal of the opponents shirt.

    2-2 Pen for Newcastle for those that may be wondering.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true Jambug.
    Why does Fellaini ever finish a game on the pitch?

  • Pete

    Tai – Hear, hear. Great article.

    We need to enjoy Wenger’s genius while we still can.

  • Tai

    John, count yourself lucky that Arsene Wenger’s modesty has thought me to stop replying to comments like yours.

  • Pat

    John – out of order. A comment like that has no place in this web site.

  • Jambug

    I really cant believe what I’m listening to here.

    Webb on Fellaini.

    “You know it’s going to be a physical game and he’s going to commit offences. This is his 4th foul and he gets cautioned for this(so that’s 4 fouls before a booking)…….We see here a slight pulling offence, I think the proximity of another defender prevents him getting another caution here, then he flicks out at Collechini. (This is now his 6th foul at least, on Webbs own account, to which webb says) At this point I would of been saying to him look your next one is going to be a Red….”

    So 6 fouls and he’s still on the pitch.

    I simply cannot believe what I’m listening to.

    Explain that rule to chambers, Flamini, Le Coq and dozens of other Arsenal players that get booked for there 1st foul.

    Look at what Chambers got sent off for at Stoke and measure that against what Howard Webb thinks is acceptable behavior to remain on the pitch.

    When you listen to a guy like webb, that I actually used to think was a decent ref, meekly, sadly, pathetically, fall in to line over the one rule for one, one rule for another, it really is sad.

  • Ando

    your comment is tantamount to saying “Go back to where you came from”
    You utter creep, your opinion is that of a slack jawed dribbling ape
    go back to whatever miasma of hate YOU crawled out of and take your ignorant misuse of unnecessary apostrophes with you

  • Tom


    Hand in an unnatural position ( head high) – check
    Hand moving towards the ball – check
    Hand blocking the ball’s path towards goal – check

    All criteria for a penalty met. Hardly “diabolical ” ,unless of course you are rooting for Man U to lose, which is fine I suppose.

    Interestingly LVG saw the first pen given as a sure pen, but the second one a 50/50 ” duel” with both players grappling for position.

    Hardly surprising, his reaction and yours.

    Both correct calls for both penalties, though. No controversy there.

  • Jambug


    I see you haven’t shut the fuck up then.

    Oh well.

  • Tom

    A pretty good article as testimonials go. I found myself nodding along the way, until the paragraph about Wenger winning at least 3 PL titles and one CL title, had he gone to Man City once they had won their oil lottery sweepstakes.

    Since City have won two PL titles in this period, Wenger winning one more under similar circumstances is plausible, but the CL title?

    What year exactly do you propose City might’ve done that under Wenger?
    Both times they got eliminated by Barca when they reached the last 16,
    And Wenger hasn’t exactly had much success against them either.

    If you are going to use conjuncture, it might be more plausible Wenger would’ve won CL in Madrit, had he gone there when he had the chance.

    But we all know how much time Madrit managers get to work their magic, don’t we.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Very nice article , Tai , well done and thanks. Not much to add other than that most of the so called non -believers are probably not Arsenal fans .

    More likely opportunistic insects that attack what they perceive as easy (dead) meat that cannot fight back.So what if they carry banners or pass asinine comments – they DON’T and NEVER will matter !

    Well not in this blog ,anyway ! Not from the bashing some of ‘them’ are getting above from the regulars . Some are probably not ever going to mature and may never go on to lead a productive life .

    I used to feel pity for them before , but now , just wish them bon appetit in whatever muck the are wallowing and drowning in !

    As for Arsene Wenger , I am forever with all due humility and reverence reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau –
    ‘ If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.’

    Many of us AKBs can hear those strains and we tap our feet in agreement .

  • Menace

    Great article Tai. Truly the giant in football success. The legend at creating legends.

    Only one of his kind. Humble, yet has pride in his team & his creation – Arsenal for the future.

  • Menace

    Howard Webb is an arrogant liar. He knows the truth yet has such great focus on his paymasters that he bends his commentary to suit.

    Some of the comments here are just so vulgar, it truly gives credence to Tai’s opinion. Wenger must be truly saintly when it comes to tolerance of the ignorant.

  • Tai

    Kolo Toure on Wenger….

    “I am not inside any more but there has been a lot of change. A lot of players left the club, guys like Patrick Vieira, leaders left the club and it was quite difficult, but this policy started when they started the new stadium,” the Liverpool defender said.

    “Everything changed. They needed to sell some players, cut the wage bill and that is all about it.

    “I think they lost so many experienced players. Patrick Vieira was a leader, Robert Pires was a top player, Thierry Henry left and sometimes you need experience at the club and then a young player can learn, that is one of the things.”

    He added: “Wenger is a top manager, he has shown that unbelievably. The thing I like is this manager can make an average player one of the best players in the world.

    “He did that with so many players – [George] Weah… Vieira was in Milan not playing a lot… Thierry Henry was at Juventus and he made him one of the best ever.

    “He did that with me because I started from nowhere. He took me to the next level and I always respect him for that.”


  • dieter


    Instead of resorting to “shut the fuck ups” could You rather give your UNBIASED view over the ManU penalty last night? Oooops, sorry, of course You can’t, because You don’t know how to. And You never will.

    The article in itself is a nice piece of retro stuff, up-to-date some 10 years ago. And naturally garnished with delicious references to WOBs and AAAs and trophies not won by “clear evil officiating”. You just can’t miss with this target audience.

  • Florian

    I felt like answering, but then every time I do this I have to remember: Don’t feed the trolls.

  • Florian

    Corollary: Let them die of cyber-starvation.

  • Tom

    Jambug means well but his inability to deal with opposing views is a tell tell sign of his insecurity.

    In his efforts to keep this site” pure” , he has tried and succeeded in some cases, to send more than a few nonconforming posters packing, including a certain proprietor of another pro Wenger site that rhymes with ” possibly Arsenal”

    I’m sure Tony appreciates his endless efforts to keep the traffic down 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    you start your comment with : “We anti Wenger fans ARE fans.”

    And that is it in fact. You have hit the nail on the head.
    I like to think of myself as a SUPPORTER, not a fan.
    I was a fan of Dire Straits in my younger days, not a supporter.
    I am a supporter of Arsenal, not a fan.

    For the rest I find it interesting to see you have all the inside knowledge as if you are a member of the team at Colney.
    Or is it from hear say….?

  • Tai


    Wenger stumbled on Coquelin, did you say? Apparently the way he stumbled on Bellerin?

    When players like Frimpong, Denilson end up not living up to it, it’s Wenger’s fault…when others do it’s stumbles. Well, you admitted you’re anti-Wenger and it shows in every word you wrote above.

  • Chris, I think the problem with your commentary is that it lacks evidence. I don’t want to bore everyone stiff with an analysis of it, but to give an example, you say, “DMF … he stumbled over Coq some 13 months ago”.

    If you had read this site before you’d know that Coquelin was one of the players we have been following since he signed for Arsenal in 2008, and it is clear from the progression, the games he has played in, the loans etc, that the process of bringing him through has been managed. Now you may disagree, but if you do, at least do us the courtesy of giving some detail to back up your claim.

    There are many more instances in your piece where you put in throw away lines without any evidence, and then build the argument on the basis that there is evidence there when there is not.

    I totally agree with Walter’s comment on the difference between a fan and a supporter, and his final comment. We spend hours and hours each week looking for supporting evidence and putting forwards reasoned argument, and our beef with the aaa is that they make statements, rather than give developed views.

  • John

    I couldnt care less if you respond to me.You wouldnt like me slagging off Nigerian football saying its corrupt and that the game there is bent and that only one section of fans are true supporters .The same as i dont like articles like yours that put our game down.You can love and drool all hou want over our manager and how he is God MK2 and hes the best manager of all time but leave the name calling out.
    And Ando i wondered how long it would be before my post would be construed as being racist

  • Zedbee

    Yes your remark is racist and he was not slagging of the English. He was making an opinion which by the way is shared by many fans both English and foreign about some decisions that have been made over the years.
    Go back to where you are from is the import of your message you troglodyte

  • This comment of one mine will show it is in reply to one particular writer, because that is how the system works, but it is a message to everyone.

    Because I have been involved in other things I was away from the site for a while, otherwise I would have stopped the slagging off.

    Please do not use Untold as a way of attacking individual people. You can argue for and against ideas, preferably (if you want to be taken seriously here) with evidence, but please do not call people names.

    As I say, I’m not going back and cutting commentaries that have done this thus far, but I will delete anything on this post from here on which appears to me to be a personal attack.

    The reality is of course that personal attacks make the sender look far more stupid than the recipient, which is why I am often fairly relaxed about such things, but here I think it is time to stop. Anyone who continues risks being banned from the site – and that is something I really don’t like doing, especially as we are getting close to announcing yet another readership record.

    Tony Attwood – publisher, Untold Arsenal

  • Pete

    Chris’s comment seems to have been deleted before everyone had a chance to weigh in!

    “So what part of winning the last 2 FA Cups, being top of the League, qualified for the CL knockout phase for the 16th straight year and playing in one of the best stadiums in the country do you not like?”

  • WalterBroeckx


    it is still there but as both Tony and I were not on the site yesterday evening it got stuck in moderation till this morning. It is the 7th comment from the start of the comments

  • WalterBroeckx

    Pete, I think the answer to your question is “the Wenger-part” 😉

  • serge

    re your comment at 10.20am
    “slagging” takes place unchecked all the time and by the same favoured commenters. We all know who they are and when to expect them to be abusive. I won’t name the main target as he fights his corner very well and make a mockery of his main ( not only) abuser.
    I myself have been trolled and now take it for granted.

  • From Nigeria Yet Again,

    Wenger shall be immortalized in the Curriculum of Finance , Sports and Business Academies in the world and the….

    The aaa will really poo and pee on themselves as they throw their toys from their prams crying as phlegm drips from their noses , hating themselves even more

  • Dave

    I must say that I agree with lots of what you say because of the clear biased way that PIGMOB allows the referees to handle games when Arsenal is involved. The Chelsea game this season, the West Brom game too and then the Stoke away game last season come to mind. If that is not enough to make people realize that there is trouble in the EPL PGMO for supporters to start questioning the PGMO, then clearly people are not wanting level playing fields for all teams. See the way that Spurs are helped by PGMO and you find that Arsenal may be even more points ahead after the matches tonight. Let us see a fair game refereed for Spuds and Arsenal, then Leicester can win and we should, So lets be positive and enjoy todays games while scaling the heights!! COYG

  • Rich


    I was one of those twitchy about Sanchez, thinking we needed to try give him a rest at some point, but I think you underestimate how difficult it is to find that point.

    2 things :

    (1) did you moan a lot about the dropped points at Norwich? Well, Sanchez, who the medical staff had declared fit and who himself said he was fit, significantly improved our chances of winning on the day. That was the story right through that run of games. Any time we played our odds of winning would be less if we hadn’t used Sanchez. As someone who I’d wager is very unhappy with every single dropped point, I don’t see how you would find it easy to pick the game to rest him.
    (2) Top players in their prime years tend to play an awful lot of matches. Check the stats of Messi, Ronaldo, Muller, etc. If fit, they invariably play.

    A third point : which of the next three crucial games would you be leaving Ozil out of? He’s a key man, been playing all the time, works very hard…so in which of these extremely important games are you prepared to lower our chance on the day in order to marginally improve the odds of him not sustaining injury during this period?

    Mind you, all that is a small point next to your characterisation of the last decade or so, which completely leaves out the issue of finances.

    I was much the same in the leaner years, in terms of hankering back to the Viera days, questioning balance of team, thinking about the need for more physical players…but then I’d consider our finances again and ask whether we were underperforming with them. The answer was always no.

    Arguably, we did make a real change to our style, with even more emphasis on technique and with no prioritisation of physical strength, but there is zero evidence we would have done better trying to replicate what we had done before only with cheaper players (because the closest matches we could find to previous players would, thanks to the budget, probably not be that close).

    No evidence at all. The best you can do (because unfortunately there are no alternate realities to look at where we tried something different) is to look at teams, WITH SIMILAR BUDGETS TO US, in that time and see how they fared with the approach you advocate, i.e look for a balance of skill and power (and if you must choose between the two, because of financial constraints, choose power), defence and attack (again, defence comes first), pragmatism or commitment to an attacking philosophy (pragmatism, pragmatism!).

    Those teams with similar budgets (liverpool and Spurs were the closest) did not outperform us in the league in that time. In Liverpool’s case they were up and down, in Spurs’ they never finished above us. So we outperformed them, had more stability (vital for building when the finances improved), and even managed to play some damn nice football while we were at it.

    Take money out of it or suppose that if we didn’t spend like Utd, City and Chelsea it is our own fault, and, I suppose, those years can be regarded as failures; but how on earth can you take money out of it? You can choose to, as you tell the story of that time, but you’re not right to.

  • Rantetta

    Thank you, Tai.

  • Tai


    Your 12.05 pm comment is so spot on I’d love to see the expanded version as a full post. Hopefully.

  • Tai

    As per slagging off…I’ve learnt, as a blogger, to always take the rough with the smooth. However, I refrain from personal attacks or replies to being personally attacked because when I hit it’s usually very hard and most times too hard. I pray I continue to restrain myself from responding to any personal attacks here. I found Untold the one site that has the wherewithal to restore fairness to all things involving Arsenal and I’ve vowed to be part of that train, however long it takes.

  • Rich

    Thanks, Tai

    Expanded version? I like that as I’m always struggling not to write too much in my comments.

    As it happens, you’re right though and I could easily say more about it!

    The money argument is one i have made so many times in the past, tend to think I have no reason to go over again, and then periodically find myself once more engaging in when someone arrives who talks as though no arguments, here or generally, even exist about money in the years in question.

    I’ve only ever attempted a full post once before- Gary Neville-inspired- and botched it by sending an attachment that wouldn’t open. It concerned the foul play we have faced on the field over the years, but if I give it a go again it might be right for me to talk about my other main pre-occupation, which I talked of in my earlier post, finances.

    I have a good title for it anyway, a phrase that seemed to sum up a lot of the issues : Contested Reality.

    There’s the reality of the role of money in football, which it is surely absurd to ever ignore, much as it might bore someone or not be what they think football should be about; then there’s the reality of what our finances are now and have been in the past: only one reality, but it is all fiercely contested, and it all matters in terms of what conclusions people come to.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Great article Tai.

  • Jambug

    Tom and Dieter

    For hand ball to be awarded the action has to be deliberate.

    In my opinion it was not.

    As for this comment:

    “Jambug means well but his inability to deal with opposing views is a tell tell sign of his insecurity.”


    I have NEVER dodged a question on here once. I always attempt to justify my point of view either with statistics, or references to the laws of the game, or referencing presidents set during previous incidents.

    So to support my view that it was NOT a handball offence I have this from totalfuteblog, May 2014.

    “FIFA’s 140-page Laws of the Game addresses the “hand ball rule” on Page 36, where it is listed as the 10th and final offense meriting a direct kick (just after spitting on an opponent). And though it references the rule elsewhere, FIFA dedicates only four words (not including a caveat about goalkeepers) to describe what warrants a hand ball violation: “handles the ball deliberately.”

    Simple and straightforward, right? One would think so. But all too often a quarter of that rule – namely one of its four words – is either forgotten or ignored, even by people who really should know better.

    The notion that you can’t touch the ball with your hands is true. That act of touching implies intent, which makes it a deliberate act and therefore an offense. The confusion lies in the fact that people assume this also means that the ball can’t touch your hands. That, however, is not an offense. You will not find anything in the Laws of the Game about the ball hitting a player’s hand or arm.”

    That is my view, especially:

    “The confusion lies in the fact that people assume this also means that the ball can’t touch your hands. That, however, is not an offense. You will not find anything in the Laws of the Game about the ball hitting a player’s hand or arm.”

    The ball hit the players arm. He wasn’t looking at the ball. He did not DELIBERATLY handle the ball.

    His arm was high that is true, but was it un natural? I don’t think so. He was in a duel and jumping, having your arms raised at such a time is perfectly natural.

    Again if you think the opposite fine.

    But I think you are wrong, as I think Dean was wrong.

    You, I understand not knowing, or being able to interpret the rules very well, Dean on the other hand has no excuse.

    My other point was how did Falaini get to 6 fouls and remain on the pitch?

    I expanded on that to ask how in analysis could Howard Webb possibly JUSTIFY Deans failure to Red card Fellaini? I reproduced Webbs testimony above. I find it an absolute joke. I used as a president Chambers dismissal at Stoke and asked how can you justify 2 yellows for that and not for Fellaini last night?

    A fair question I would of thought.

    And remember the outrage when Le Qoc didn’t get sent off earlier this year? It went on for days in the media and he did nothing like what Fellaini did.

    Last Night not one of the pundits, 2 in the commentary box, 4 in the studio, contested in any way shape or form that fellaini was lucky to still be on the pitch. Again, measure that against the reaction t Le Qoc.

    Insecure? Cant deal with people that disagree with me?


    I just don’t like you Tom. Simple as that.

  • dieter


    While I unfortunately skipped Your post last night I totally agree with everything you stated. Even WOBs like us are happy to admit that the recurring mistakes of past seasons are down at the moment. But having supported Arsenal FC for all my life I most certainly will retaliate every time anyone tells me I am not entitled to be a supporter if I’m not 100 % behind a manager whose bygone achievements seem to have turned him into something bigger than the club.


    What might be the point of having the best and the most comprehensive squad ever when you can practically NEVER give rest to key players? And secondly; if all the trophyless years were down to limited financial resources then how could we afford to have the highest-paid manager in the EPL?


    Thanks for replying and letting us know that such thing as “hands in unnatural position” doesn’t even exist. That must be great news for the Beautiful Game.

  • Polo

    @ Chris, you said that we are doing a lot better due to change in tactics this season but wasn’t Arsenal top of the league most of the 2013/2014 season, only due to heavy injuries to key players that we lost top spot towards the end? I’m not sure about you but I prefer to watch attacking football then park the bus and counter football (boring might as well watch paint dry).

    Now, you sound like you know more about football then Arsene, so can you tell us which club have you managed and won trophies with?

  • Pete

    Jamburg – that’s the law. But the authorities have also prepared “interpretations”. I don’t have anything to hand – maybe Walter or Don could comment?

  • Jambug

    Also Dean missed a blatant penalty for Newcastle.

    3 major, game changing decisions and Dean got them ALL wrong.

    1) Uniteds Penalty – If you really think United should of had a penalty that’s up to you, but as the rule only says it has to be ‘deliberate’ (unless you can show me otherwise) I fail to see how.

    2) Newcastles Penalty appeal – How anyone can contest that was not a Penalty I don’t know.

    3) Fellaini not receiving 2 Yellow cards – Even without the ‘presidents’ I referenced, I fail to see how anyone can contest that 6 fouls by the same player (the fifth being a retaliatory ‘kick out’ at an opponent) doesn’t merit 2 yellows.

    If you think that Deans performance, especially in the first 30 mins, was anything other than completely unacceptable then it’s hardly surprising you never agree with a word of the Referee assessments.

  • Polo

    Chris, you should cut down on believing the media and especially pundits, I will give you a hint as to why: Gary Neville – manager of Valancia, how is Mr. Know It All doing in La Liga?

  • Jambug


    I guess there must be something knocking about expanding on what the ‘Laws’ actually say.

    Such as the un natural position of the arm, which is why I touched on that.

    But, no matter what the interpretations are, the LAW says ‘deliberate’. And I contest it was NOT deliberate.

    As you say it will be very interesting to hear if Walter has the ‘interpretations’ in writing, and in addition to that, what his view is on that penalty incident, and the others I am debating.

  • Tom


    The handball rule like most others is open to interpretation and the biggest problem as I see it , is that referees have to play a role of psychologists and determine if there was intent.

    If you look at Mbemba’s body position, you will clearly see only his left arm is raised, the arm that’s ball- side. No one jumps up with only one arm elevated,so your argument for a raised arm due to being in a process of jumping is weak at best.

    The way the play develops is this.
    Mbemba knows Fellaini is on the far post because it’s his job to mark him.
    The ball sails over his head, he tries to body feel the attacker with his left arm , which is raised the whole way during the play.
    Even when he turns towards Fellaini there’s enough to time to lower his arm , which he never does. The ball is headed goal wards and it strikes the raised hand of Mbemba’s which is constantly moving.

    As a player, what you want from officials is consistency in applying the rules. If the handball against Leicester City’s, Dyer, resulted in a penalty in the FA cup tie against Tottenham, then this one was even more straightforward.

    You may not like the call, you make think it was controversial, but to call it
    ” diabolical ” is way over the top.

    As for the issue of you not liking me, I think I’ll survive 🙂

    I have no feelings about you one way or another. The example I gave of you chasing posters away at any sign of disagreement was very specific in nature and I’m not at all surprised you chose to ignore responding to it specifically, in your rather winded response may I add.

  • Jambug


    I’m guessing the ‘interpretations’ will say something about the motion of ‘Hand to Ball’, which some may interpret as ‘deliberate’ in it. But does it have to be ‘Deliberate’ even it that case? I don’t think so.

    A few examples:

    A Player falls and puts his arm out to cushion his fall, but in doing so blocks the ball or puts his hand on it. Is that deliberate? I think not.

    A player uses his arm as leverage when jumping and blocks or handles the ball. Is that deliberate? Again I don’t think so.

    A Player raises his arms defending his position and the ball hits his arm or he handles the ball. Is that deliberate? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, lets see what Walter has to say.

  • Rich

    Oh well, in for a penny…

    I actually thought it was a pen last night, as I did with the Spurs one. That said, after Jambug has made clear what the laws state, it appears I might well be wrong.

    I always knew it was stated as deliberate handball, but i guess I thought it was also stated, or known, that this natural or unnatural arm movement came into it. According to those rules, then, it doesn’t.

    Yet…what does that mean for a player who jumps in front of someone shooting and spreads their arms wide, and then stops the ball with their hand? If it’s only a deliberate and conscious movement towards the ball, that shouldn’t be handball.

    As for last night, I felt the defender had a close eye on Fellaini and seemed to bring his hand around to the area Fellaini’s header was likely to hit. Far from clearcut, and I normally disagree with over half of the calls about hands being in unnatural positions, but, after my initial disgust with Dean, I had to wrestle with the fact I thought it wasn’t an outrageous decision after all.

    However, if deliberate is the only criteria, can it ever be deliberate if you aren’t looking? Mbemba supposedly committed a foul that only becomes a foul if another player, Fellaini, does a certain thing, which is heading the ball against the raised hand. Does that sound right? Foul or non-foul depending on the opposition player’s action…

    The other point, and I’m dodgy ground here but have to cop to it : even if it was ok from Dean, I still feel entitled to much of my original displeasure. There are two separate issues : individual calls (whether they are right, wrong, good, bad, shocking,etc), then this aggregate of all the calls and how a new one fits with it.

    In that case, it becomes whether or not you believe for one second Dean would make that call for us, or whether one of our players could do what Fellaini did, or, for that matter, Smalling, who in the last minute, and on a booking, grabbed hold of a newcastle player very blatantly for what would have been a last good break on Utd. Dean gave a little smile after it. For us I feel sure he would have assumed a dramatic pose and dutifully issued a second yellow.

    Dodgy ground, because I cannot prove these things, can’t give direct evidence. The precise same thing never happens again in football, and i know how far you’ll get with those hostile to you with talk of ‘I suspect, I feel’, etc.

    But what can you do? Watching the team year after year and seeing over a hundred games ( shit, it surely is that high) per year, adds up to a hell of a lot, a lot of watching these refs, seeing the decisions we get, and others get. So even if I do think it was a pen (or at least did until Jambug had to go and bring the damn rules into it), I remain convinced Dean would not give it to us, but would give it against us. Ditto that our Fellaini and Smalling would have seen red.

    Different refs I guess, but from last year does anyone recall Boyd’s crazy handball against us for Burnley, or the Hull one ( or was it two?) just before we grabbed a late goal (they also had a good one, along with the other two or three strong claims, in the cup final), then Simpson for Leicester. There were probably more.

    Those of you who trust the refs would have made the same decisions if it had been our players who had touched the ball with their hands, or that Jones would have given us the Kos one at Stoke, can just go on trusting.

    I understand I have guaranteed myself a lot of anger when I am even angered by calls I think are probably right…but that’s the situation of watching football for me now. Still, I’ll be able to forget it all if the team can get past liverpool and any dodgy officiating tonight. It’s a price well worth paying ( on the good days)

  • Jambug


    I was just about to concede to Tom that, similar to you, my initial interpritation as ‘diabolical’ was perhaps harsh.

    I still think it was a poor decision.

    Perhaps my angst at that particular call was in part down to other decisions over the week end.

    There where 4 penalty calls the weekend that could of all been called ‘debatable’

    Chelsea, United, spurs and us.

    Typically, Chelsea, United and Spurs all won there ‘debate’ and typically we lost our ‘debate’ despite ours looking possibly the most clear cut on first view, as well as not even being ‘crucial’

    Last night, even if you put both Uniteds and Newcastles in the debatable category isn’t it funny how yet again United won both ‘debates’.

    But Personally I don’t see how anyone can call the Newcastle one debatable, and as for the United one, okay if not diabolical then poor.

    And then we have the Fellaini issue. If anyone can explain how under any interpretation of the ‘Laws’ he was still on the pitch at the end I’d be interested to hear it.

    So okay in summery maybe the United penalty decision wasn’t diabolical, simply poor. But the Newcastle Penalty was a very bad decision, and not sending Fellaini off was diabolical.

    Arguably Dean had 3 major calls to make. He got at least 2 wrong, I think 3. That is very poor in anyone’s book. Then you add the Smalling incident you mentioned and you have to wonder why any Arsenal fan would want to put themselves out in an effort to support Dean. Given his history with us that is beyond me. Okay, like yourself Rich, maybe not entirely agree with my take on the United Penalty, but to the point they see it necessary to defend Dean. Come on.

    And talking of Tom.

    On the subject of avoidance you have failed to address the Newcastle pen or the Fellaini fouls.

    As for chasing posters off.

    You give me too much credit. If only.

  • proudkev


    Nothing wrong with disagreeing chaps, lets face it football and politics are where its really easy to fall out! Just keep it sensible.

    These handball decisions are always contensious to me.

    That one Spurs were awarded against Leicester was a complete joke but proves the law is a mess. I don’t think anybody knows it.

    I still play, even though I ought not, and when I was younger I did so at a good level. However, I cant say I ever understood the rule because it was officiated so inconsistently. I bet if you replayed the last 10 handball incidents leading to penalties being awarded, you’ld get an even split on those who thought it was apen and those who thought not.

    As for the Smalling rugby tackle. That was utterly ridiculous, do these players really think this is a game of rugby? We need zero tollerance on this it is getting beyond a joke all this grabbing.

  • Tom


    I didn’t comment on any other aspect of Dean’s performance in the Newcastle game because I didn’t feel strongly enough about it to care.

    I don’t like Dean as an official and as Rich said, would Dean give those decisions for Arsenal ? Doubtful.

    I also dislike Fellaini and I think no Arsenal player would get away with what Fellaini gets away with.

    As for the tiresome by now subject of your intolerance of opposing views , it’s a fact.

    You called the guy out, told him to get out. The guy responded that it wasn’t your place to chase him away, as you were just a guest on here. Then he reconsidered his position, withdrew his comment and never posted on here again.

    Now, I have very little sympathy with the poster in question because he did the same to me on his site.

    I posted a few comments on his
    “Positive” site , few of which he didn’t particularly like and he told me not to post again , which I have duly obliged.

    The only difference of course was, that he had every right to tell me to leave because as it turned out it was his site, as oppose to your telling posters to leave Untold, where you yourself are just a guest.

  • They simply hate Wenger the Revolutionizer pd British football and the one who have mentoref most African players from obscurity to super stardom …

    aaa and aae ( rival fans who knew more than Wenger )

    Take a bow you pesky haters

  • They simply hate Wenger the Revolutionizer of British football and the one who have mentored most African players from obscurity to super stardom …

    aaa and aae ( rival fans who knew more than Wenger )

    Take a bow you pesky haters

  • Tom


    You hit the nail right on the head.
    It’s the inconsistency with which referees apply the handball rule that’s the problem.

    None of the handball decisions were more infuriating than the one Mike Jones gave for Koscielny’s hand ball at the edge of the box against Stoke.
    Talking about diabolical.

  • Jambug


    “You called the guy out, told him to get out. The guy responded that it wasn’t your place to chase him away, as you were just a guest on here. Then he reconsidered his position, withdrew his comment and never posted on here again.”

    What on earth are you talking about?

    Show me and then perhaps I can answer your accusations.

  • Tom


    It’s not important enough for me to go through the archives to prove a point.

    The poster in question was one of the proprietors of ” Positively Arsenal”.
    His name is immaterial.
    The topic of discussion was the scope of the anti- Arsenal bias in PL.

  • Jambug


    So you more or less agree that Dean was, and is, a terrible referee, yet you ‘didn’t feel strongly enough to care’ about 2 terrible decisions he made.

    But oddly enough you did feel strongly enough to call me out over my description of a decision of his being diabolical, that perhaps on reflection was merely a poor.

    Then this:

    “As for the tiresome by now subject of your intolerance of opposing views , it’s a fact.”

    Speaks the guy who seems to of been a tad ‘intolerant’ of my take on Mr Dean.

    You couldn’t make this up.

    The fact is the whole reason behind you calling me to task over the use of ‘Diabolical’ is because you think we’re all a bunch of paranoid fools when it comes to our views on referees.

    Tell me I’m wrong.

    You where more bothered about trying to discredit me than you was the incompetent Dean, which says all there is to know about you.

    And as I said, regarding the accusation above about me ‘chasing’ a guy off.

    Show me.

  • Jambug


    “It’s not important enough for me to go through the archives to prove a point.”

    Funny that. I thought it wouldn’t be.

  • Tom


    This is my last post on this subject as this is getting repetitive and boring.

    Dean got all the major decisions right last night as far as Im concerned.

    Unlike you, I can judge each individual event or a person without a bias of past experiences.

    So just because Dean has screwd Arsenal before, I can still look at his decisions in other games as separate events that they are. You can’t.

    In your mind every decision is motivated by ulterior motives.

    In your haste for conspiracy theories you fail to stay consistent.

    Tottenham get a favorable call, the league wants them to make top four. Man U get one, the league wants them to make top four.

    Liverpool get one …, and so on.

    There’s only four places in the top four. Make up your mind which teams the league wants to make it there.

    As for the searching the archives to prove my point, I don’t care!!!!!

    The poster’s name was Anicoll5 , you look it up.
    If I told someone to piss off , I would remember it.

    That’s the problem with shooting your mouth off at a whim , you can’t keep track of what you say after a while.

    Now if you excuse me I m hosting the game today.

    Enjoy the game.

  • Tim Charlesworth

    I was a bit sad to see John’s rather unpleasant comment about Tai (Jan 12 7:35pm). Then I saw the number of ‘dislikes’ (60 at the point of writing) recorded against it, and I was reminded of why Untold is the best Arsenal site on the web. Well done Untolders for letting John know what you thought of his comment. Tony is absolutely right about watching the line between debate and abuse. Football is a game of passion, but I don’t think there is a ever a place for abusing fellow fans (or supporters Walter). Its natural to react strongly when we see an opinion that we don’t agree with, but there are occasions when its best to bite the old tongue!