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October 2016
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Sticking and pulling together or not?

By Walter Broeckx

As I am the president of an official Arsenal supporters club I have to deal with lots of different fans.

Now I must say that I feel blessed to be the chairman of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club. Why? Well because in general we do have a big number of supporters who take the notion of supporting rather seriously. Yes we have members who want the manager to be changed. But that  is something for which the board has worked for, so they do this in a civilized way.

Our policy as an official supporters club is that we don’t allow any abuse of manager or players. Of course in the heat of the match when a player misses an open goal we have people moaning about that. But if anyone dares to call names over and over and over again we first ask him/her politely to stop doing this and if (s)he keeps on doing this we will throw him/her out of our Facebook group. But this has only been done just twice in the past when people really didn’t stop the constant stream of insults. We are well behaved in Belgium one could say. 😉

A few weeks ago I couldn’t attend the regular supporters club meeting before the Watford match in which Arsenal would explain how the next season would be arrange for the supporters clubs and the way of working. Don’t worry I will not bore you with this.

But what I found very interesting was that inside the brochure, in fact it was more or less the opening line was a remarkable quote from Herbert Chapman.

Herbert Chapman. The Herbert Chapman. The man whom we have to thank and feel eternal gratitude and are in debt for all he has done to turn Arsenal from some middle class club in to a team on the brink of conquering the world. Alas for him he died too soon to really harvest what he has sown.

A start that wasn’t a fairy tale at first. I think Tony has mentioned it on a few occasions that it was a bit of up and down in his first 5 seasons or so. But then when he got it right it was the start of something amazing. A first period in which Arsenal was a top club. So I admire and am thankful for all he did to Arsenal.

Now as said in the brochure we had this sentence: “A club should be like a great big family with all the members of it sticking and pulling together in the same direction”.

So what we are seeing now is to me like spitting on the grave of the manager that has taken Arsenal to the next level. In Dutch and in English there is an expression that is almost identical for this situation:  the English version is, ‘Herbert Chapman would be turning in his grave’.

What have we become? Are we sticking together? Hell no. Are we pulling in the same direction? Hell no.

The Arsenal protestors are doing all they can to not stick together. The are pulling in all kinds of directions but not in the direction the players and board want to go.

If Herbert Chapman had been a religious leader I would shout: blasphemy!

Now I just say that those who are not sticking and pulling in the same direction are also destroying his legacy.

I know lots of people find it not done to say one bad word about George Graham and even when we say that Wenger has been a better manager than Graham (based on facts) we get angry people writing in saying all kind of ugly stuff about us.

But in the history of Arsenal the most important figure is probably Herbert Chapman. The man that turned the tide for Arsenal.

And instead of listening to his wise words they spit on his grave. In Dutch we have even stronger expressions about this but I don’t even dare to write them down. But that is how it feels to me.

I am not English. I am not from London. But I love the whole history of my club from London, The Arsenal. I love how we were unsuccessful for so long. Yes in a strange way I love those first 50 years or so. Because it is par of our history. And if you forget your history, you can easily forget where you came from and what you have gone through in the past and that made this club special.

Herbert Chapman is such a figure. Even he had to live with the boo boys (eternal shame on them) in his days in the office. And I think that the quote that Arsenal used in their brochure for the supporters club is today more than ever actual.

Yes we all want the same thing : a successful Arsenal. As president of an official supporters club I want to add my little bit by supporting the club, manager and team every day. And certainly when they take the playing field in order to win a match for us.

In a way I can only subscribe the wise words of Herbert Chapman. And for those who want to pull in all kinds of directions and don’t want to stick together I can only say that you are not only harming our players of today. You are not only harming our manager (not that you mind of course). But in fact you are ignoring and throwing away our own history. And that is something I feel sad about.

Time to think about it. Do you throw away our past and the wise words of our first successful manager and leader? I have thought about it. And I will stick together. I will pull in the same direction.   Because Arsenal is more than todays success. Arsenal is more than today winning the league or not. In a way this season is a small detail in our history.

I embrace our history and our former leaders and managers. And will live and follow their wise words: Stick together, pull together in the same direction. Not for todays success. But for tomorrows success!

Recent Posts

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48 comments to Sticking and pulling together or not?

  • GoonerDave

    I would normally totally agree with the sentiment of your article – many times in the past we have had to fight off ridiculous “punditry” and a poisonous, privately owned, agenda-filled media.
    But in terms of sticking together, all working towards the same goal – when our board and management do not invest like the fans do, there is a major problem.
    As I said, in the austerity years, most of us understood. Now, it just appears as though they are hoarding money and trying to pull in CL revenue with minimal investment.
    I love Arsenal just as much as you, but I despise what we have become – a toy for a wealthy owner who knows the value of having 200 million in the reserves of one of his assets.

  • Simon

    The club needs to change. There’s no point sticking together when we’d be sticking with losing. We need a new manager, new board members, new approach and new players.

  • Florian


    Media drivel regurgitated again. The 200mil myth has been debunked already.

    Arsenal are profitable and have a fantastic stadium, and they owe that to the intelligent and responsible management of Wenger and the board. The fans have their investment, but none of them dedicated his work to the club as much as Arsene Wenger.

  • bushido

    this is it folk, we are living in the end of the time know’ no kidding, when people will start arguing and fighting even about thing we love and hold dearly to our heart. to some people its never enough, they want more and become impatient. did some of this some call fans or whatever they call themself this day know or realise that Arsenal became clear of stadium debt just less then 4 or 5 years ago and Arsenal is self sufficient or self financing club plus having 1 of the lowest wage bill of so call big club. no of course not, this AAA and WOB flock dont want to know about that, for them that wasnt relevant. they want this club to chop and change 5 or 6 player every single years coz for them Arsenal are big club so money not a problem, they demand it like playing fifa on their play station. did they even realize without A.Wenger Arsenal will probably still playing football at Highbury. if this so call fans mostly at aftv on youtube or other social media really have no shame when they a full grown man who not brain dead (able to think and know right or wrong) hurling abusive language and sometime acting worse then children. may god have mercy on their souls

  • James LeBlanc

    Danny Fiszman WAS the inspiration behind the building of the Emirates stadium albeit with the encouragement of Arsene Wenger.
    Danny would be dismayed at the current management & silent anonymous ownership of the club.
    I cannot believe Wenger has taken a dig at his own club’s fans by telling them to follow Liverpool fans ‘great’ example!!
    These ‘great’ fans who when it suited drove out managers of the club: Souness, Houllier, Hodgson & Rodgers ……….

    These ‘great’ fans who this season walked out of a match on 77 minutes to protest about ticket prices whilst team 2-0 up & result thereafter 2-2
    These ‘great’ fans, 14 of which convicted of manslaughter for their part in ‘Heysel tragedy’.
    These ‘great’ fans ruined 2007 Champions League final for fans with tickets as multitude of ticketless fans took advantage of poor security to get into the stadium.
    I went to Paris in 2006 with nearly £1,000 to try & get a ticket but when it was clear there was no chance, myself & other Arsenal fans in same predicament didn’t go to the stadium to force way in but accepted disappointment & found bars to watch the match.
    The presence of Liverpool fans is dreaded by European cities.
    Up to this season if you asked which club’s fans cause the most trouble & damage at the Emirates stadium you would expect the answer to be Tottenham …… WRONG!!
    It is Liverpool fans who create chaos as ticket less fans try to force 2 entrants at a time & thereafter trash the toilets & seating.
    Liverpool’s artisan team performed a thrilling comeback to defeat a superb Borussia Dortmund team. Sadly Arsenal currently are unable to perform similarly as are gutless & capitulate when circumstances go against us. That truth is a reflection of Arsene Wenger. In our home leg vs Barcelona we played with disciplined gameplan for an hour but thereafter individual egos went gung ho & Wenger just sat in his seat. A Mourinho would have been at edge of technical area screaming to stick to the plan.
    Arsenal fans are used to Wenger & the Arsenal hierarchy failing to both support & defend their own fans but this is a step too far.
    Wenger further insults Arsenal fans intelligence by saying we are manipulated by media & social media.
    I can make my own mind up thank you & wrote to him 5 years ago complaining of ‘Groundhog day’ seasons whereby same weaknesses were not dealt with.
    The Emirates atmosphere is nervy & edgy due to consistent performances of that nature whereby we dominate possession but fail to turn that into enough goals thus creating nervy endings endeavouring to find the winning goal or hanging onto a slender lead. Great examples are the Watford Cup defeat & League defeat & draw against Swansea & Crystal Palace.
    He bleats about his ‘heroism’ committing to 5 year deal at insistence of Banks. Then & since he has been paid phenomenally with him currently earning between £8.5 & 11 million pounds a year.
    He has often said he has turned down numerous jobs including Real Madrid. He would not though have enjoyed the powerbase he has gripped so tightly at Arsenal.
    Real Madrid sacked Del Bosque due to his image despite La Liga & Champions League winning season & also sacked Capello after he won La Liga as his style of football did not satisfy their hierarchy.
    Wenger takes ALL of the plaudits for successes but NONE of the responsibility for failings. A supreme example was how he bristled at the credit given to Martin Keown for the solid defence in the run to 2006 Champions League final. That was the end of the presence of Keown!
    Wenger’s great Arsenal team’s had Skill, Pace, Power & Strength but his team’s of the last 10 years have lacked Power & Strength & even at times Pace as he has obsessed with diminutive skilful players so much so that he ruined one of them in Andrei Arshavin who he persisted playing out of position.
    Wenger is the only manager/coach of a big club in World Football that does not answer to a Director of football or Chief Executive.
    Ivan Gazidis bizarrely answers to him & that was why well qualified individuals such as Peter Lawwell refused the post under such circumstances.

  • Mandy Dodd

    We do need to pull together, and remember all this club and team has going for it.
    We have a special manager, the article below, taken from a link on PA shows the greatest context I have read for a while, away from Untold, reminded me of a few home truths as well, I am not ashamed to say

  • Mandy Dodd

    And talking of sticking together, it seems even the club photographer is getting stick from some elements of the WOB and probably their friends who support other clubs

    Classy bunch

  • Robert

    Bushido, Arsenal will not be free of stadium debt for another 20 years or so. We pay around 19m per year on capital repayments and interest.

    And our wage bill is close to that of Chelsea, Man C and Man U – and getting larger.

  • GoonerDave

    The accounts are published by the club. I missed the debunking of our disposable cash, but I cannot understand how anybody can deny our published accounts. There are gigantic cash reserves – even being super conservative and subtracting the following year’s operating costs, we are dripping in cash compared to 5 years ago. At the end of the season, we will have far more than 200 million in our reserves.
    Interesting that you ignored my comment and chose to build a straw man argument with one figure from it. You cannot win against the truth.

  • ARSENAL 13


    Hez not just a photographer. Hez a massive gooner. I just love some of his tweets.

  • bushido

    robert- but still lower then them rite. if its getting larger so was them. talk about indenial

  • GoonerDave

    Spot on Robert – our wage bill was always quite large. This shows that for many years, we had regular income each month to pay wages, but little disposable cash for transfers. Wenger actually worked wonders during those years.
    Just feels now like they are still stuck in that rut, or else our owner is delighted to stay in this rut. After all, his asset will still be very valuable as long as AFC just remain competitive.

  • James I was most interested in your ability to know what Mr Fiszman would think, as he sadly died in 2011.

    Fiszman said he would not sell any more of his shares after the initial sale of shares in March 2007 to Kronke. But that initial sale took Fiszman down to below 25% of shareholding so he no longer had a veto. On 27 March 2009 Fiszman sold 5,000 ordinary shares of £1 each in Arsenal Holdings plc to KSE, UK, and on 11 April 2011, two days before his death, he sold his Arsenal shares amounting to 16.11% of club’s stake to KSE.

    I think he knew what sort of man Kronke was and how he ran his clubs. Why else would he have sold them when he knew he would very soon die?

    But certainly your ability to know what he would have been thinking, five years after his death is fascinating, and one that many spiritualist congregations would be interested to benefit from.

  • colario

    Walter. It is not your club. It is My club! 🙂

    I agree with all you say.

    What is sad about these protesters who want to return to ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ and the many defeats and poor defense that went with it is that these protesters are doing the PGMOL’ work for them.

    These same protesters who see the same game and see the fouls of the PGMOL officials that everyone else sees, chose to ignore what happens game after game be it home or away.

    What has the PGMOL done for them that causes them to be the loud of mouth of the PGMOL? That is what I want to know.

  • Simon

    Danny Fiszman sold his shares to Kroenke. A man who was well known to him with a well known consistent approach to business. Danny could of course have sold his shares to anyone.

  • ARSENAL 13


    Yes we have massive cash reserves, BUT all of it is available for spending on players?? Thats a doubt.

    Last time we checked, we are still to finish with stadium repayment. That accounts to around 30 million a year and is expected to close in around 2030. ie atleast 15 more years of loan repayment. Atleast 300 million more to pay. Does it make sense now?

    Look at football world. Everything looks like a bubble. To me it looks like ARSENAL are preparing themselves for the burst. And when it comes, clubs will crash, economies will tumble, but we will be safe.

  • bushido

    tq Tony, thats what i mean. look like some of this so call fans act like they know everything and they always right. when u just dont like something or someone whatever they do u will always find fault.

  • Robert

    Bushido, here’s a quote from Swiss Ramble: “What is interesting is how the wage bills at the top clubs have been converging around the £200 million level. Arsenal’s £192 million is still the 4th highest, but the gap has been closing. Chelsea once again have the highest wage bill in the top flight at £216 million, which is the first time since 2010, ahead of Manchester United £203 million and Manchester City £194 million.

    Both Manchester clubs actually saw a reduction in wages in 2014/15. United’s decrease was due to their lack of success on the pitch, as bonuses fell, while City’s is partly due to a group restructure, where some staff are now paid by group companies, which then charge the club for services provided.

    Continued investment in [Arsenal’s] playing squad has seen a further increase in player amortisation to £29 million, up £4 million (14%). On a full year basis, this has risen from just £22 million in 2011 to £54 million in 2015, and is likely to be higher still in 2016.”


    Care to revise your opinion?

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    All the Arsenal fans are together in their supports for our beloved club.

    Some of the Arsenal suppoters are the lefties who are the conservative supporters of the club. While the other arm of the Afc fan base are the rightists who are the contemporary supporters of Arsenal.

    The diffirence in support between the duo supporters fan base of Arsenal fc is, the conservatives are holding tightly to the past glory of the club. While the contemporaries want new glory for Arsenal. More especially the 2 highest glory of the BPL title and the Ucl title. The latter they’ve not had for so long. While the former they’ve never tasted it at all.

    A truce between the 2 warring factions of the Arsenal supporters is desirable and it should be called. The Afc managenent board must call for this truce to stop things getting out of control by listening to both factions griviencies and do the needful for Arsenal.

    The possibilities of Arsenal finishing 2nd with 6 points behind Leicester in the table is still on the cards.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The disposable income is not just on players, all kinds of projects in the background are going on to invest in the clubs future eg improvements to medical, fitness and training facilities, and more emphasis on the academy….not we are signing up some very impressive youngsters , some of whom will undoubtedly play a role in the first team in the future.
    Ultimately, these sort of investments may pay more dividends than taking a punt on some flavour of the month striker… the likes of our neighbours, Liverpool, Chelsea, City and United amongst others have done in recent years with varying success.
    Guess we could have signed Ballotelli though.

  • Rich

    Gooner Dave

    Don’t have figures but I’m pretty sure that when the new finances were in place we spent a lot more for the first two years. Which only really leaves this year as the controversial one.

    Had it been two years of not spending much (on transfers), let alone three, I’m not sure there’d be any defence for it.

    To me, it’s only fair and right to separate Wenger’s time into three distinct periods : the glorious years, the austerity years, and this latest period when the finances have improved.

    I can’t really debate much with anyone who sees that differently. But if they agree, it seems the scope to criticise Wenger is massively reduced.

    It comes down to this last year. I felt we needed something extra and was disappointed it didn’t happen, but having been satisfied (different from ecstatic- only league wins do that for me) with everything up to now, it’s not nearly enough to convince me Wenger should go or we’d be better without him.

    It’s life, so i don’t get to set the terms of the argument (damn!), but I’d be interested to know how you’d feel about things if, say, a new man had been in charge this last year and things had gone exactly as they have or, and much better, how you’d feel if some different manager had overseen the last 3 seasons (same spending, same results).

    Would you have been very unhappy with the first two? If not, would this year have been decisive and convinced you the club were behaving badly and the new guy had to go in the hope of changing things- in terms of both spending on transfers and results on the pitch?

  • Col

    re: Mandy’s blog referenced.

    It made some good points, however, ‘expected goals’ is a bit of a nonsense. You can’t award yourself a ‘gold star’ for goals you fail to score. Saying that the league table ‘lies’ sounds risible, like a small child bleating about how unfair it all is, after they get told off for failing to do their homework.

    All it really says is Arsenal have not been been taking their chances. Why? One obvious reason is because they have ‘world class’ Giroud and Walcott as forwards, and when Sanchez is injured or coming back from injury he can’t rescue the situation any more. Put Aguerro, Kane, Vardy or even Lukaku or Sturridge in an Arsenal shirt this season and they would have a few more points and probably still be in the title race. Another reason for the disappointment of this season is that most of the ‘cover’ for Coquelin consists of players that are too old to do the job, either through slowness, or repeated injury, or both. Elneny is great, but has only influenced about 1/3 of the season – should have been in place last summer. What is galling is that all this is what a lot of the ‘aaa’ were saying before the season even started, which is why they feel more emboldened now.

    I don’t want Wenger to go, but as a manager you live and die by your decisions. He has very publicly come out in support of these 2, and his older players, and they have repeatedly let him down. A more ruthless manager than Wenger would have shown less faith in them – on the other hand at any other ‘big’ club Wenger would probably be out of a job by now. I suspect he has actually had his hands tied by the board. I know he has come out publicly and talked how the banks insisted he stays to keep the cash rolling in. Is that all Arsenal is now? A commercial enterprise? Quite a revealing comment that – it makes it ever clearer that the board are not interested in winning things, just in the bottom line net worth of the club.

    It is possible to make any number of excuses about the missed opportunity that this season represents, but it remains a missed opportunity. Part of Arsene Wenger’s problem is that this is not just 1 season – there has been a decade’s worth of missed opportunities, and after a while of hearing the same excuses, over and over again, people lose faith. The article puts a lot of store by statistics: one undeniable truth is that the larger the statistical sample, the more the results tend towards the ‘true’ picture. This season in isolation could be an anomaly, but this less likely to be the case if it is surrounded by other seasons where the same things happen. For example, the writer expresses incredulity as to why Arsenal players have been making stupid decisions this season – but they have been doing this for years. It is almost a trademark – ‘doing an Arsenal’ – dominating possession and looking superior, yet losing by giving away stupid goals.

    Ultimately, the question is, is it going to be any better next season? I Would like Wenger to remain, but I am extremely dubious about the likelyhood of anything getting better anytime soon. If you are going to start quoting statistics, you could equally say that if Arsenal have finished 3rd or 4th every year for a decade, then there is absolutely no basis for believing that this will be any different next year. This will keep Kroenke and the banks happy, to be sure, but not many others.

  • Simon

    All our other investments come to less than £25m and the majority is nonrecurring.
    We have more cash at bank than any football club in the world and this figure is set to rise.
    We require £30m to be held as security on loans.
    Sadly buying Messi wouldn’t win us the league however. We’d need a new manager to do that.

  • James LeBlanc

    It’s impossible to know what a seriously sick man thought. My ‘opinion’ is that he did not want the club to fall into Usmanov’s hands as not wanting us to be another boorish Chelsea & also avoid facilitating David Dein returning to a prominent position in the club. Just an opinion which I am entitled to, which is neither factually right or wrong.
    I have been a passionate fan since 1973 & was a season ticket holder at the Emirates up to 2010 but had to give it up for physical reasons as what should have been a pleasure became a physical struggle to attend. I also enjoyed over 25 Euro trips the last being the 5-2 win at Fenerbahce.
    My respect for Wenger has sadly eroded due to repeated failure to address persistent weaknesses & him not genuinely admitting his own culpability.
    There is no divine right to win but we should have done so this season.
    I very much like your blog site as articles posted are interesting & educating whilst I love learning anything about the history of the club. I email a copy of your article regarding our election to Division 1 in 1919 to ‘chip on their shoulder’ Spurs fans.
    Where I have disagreement with you is your blog’s seemingly entrenched stance that Wenger is above reproach & to criticise him & to demand change means not being a true fan. I was surprised you published my comment as you have previously blocked critical postings of mine.
    I was born in the USA & follow US politics closely. AKBs remind me of the so called lefty progressives in the USA who dominate TV coverage being allowed a full voice to air their views whilst the Conservatives have much less coverage which is shouted down & nearly always portrayed as extreme lunacy.

  • bushido

    simon, who did u know for certain if we change the manager we gonna win the league. did u had some kind of crystal ball or something. some people never fail to amuse me with their state of mentality

  • Pat

    Just read the Arsenal members’ newsletter. Elneny says: the most important thing is listening to Arsene Wenger’s advice and putting it into action. Just one of the many reasons why this site supports the manager.

  • Col

    To pick up Rich’s point, about the ‘3 ages of Wenger’, the last of which is (finally) the ability to buy players again. The reason I would like Wenger to stay is he deserves to be given a fair opportunity to exploit the fact that he no longer needs to sell players. A ‘fair opportunity’ I would say is 3 or 4 seasons. I think the money shackles have been off for a while now (not just 1 year) so he should at least be given this coming season, maybe more. I also think he has earned the right to leave when it suits him. I am not sure he would want to stay after another season like this one, so I think things will either improve next season or it will be his last, because he will not sign a new contract.

  • Pete

    Finances. Per debate earlier in the week, once covenants, debt repayments and so on are deducted, the correct “war chest” is around £80mm. So let’s spend some of that in the summer on one or two “top top” players – no more – and then look forward to next season.

  • Actually James that last paragraph is very interesting – as you may know I am in the UK, but I do follow the situation in the US very closely and write a blog about an American artist – and I am constantly bumping into the fact that I don’t live in the US. I am very grateful for that last para, because I do want to put it to a number of US friends who are not going to give me a simplistic answer based on their own political views, but on one taken from their position in the media and in life in general.

    It’s not a line I’ve ever investigated – many thanks for that.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Kenneth Widmerpool April 30, 2016 at 11:31 am – Nice one ! Thanks .

    And after reading all the above comments , including the financial clarifications and misconception , looks we have to keep spare cash around to repair the toilets after Liverpool come visiting !

    @ Tony Attwood -April 30, 2016 at 10:56 am – As far as ‘ spiritualist congregations ‘ go, I’d be very interested in the views of those late great Arsenal players of yesteryear about all this , and much more as well !

    AW has already built The Field Of Dreams , so will they come ? From the Arsenal heaven above to the one in earth ?

  • Simon

    Bushido… I wasn’t assuming we would win but that at least we would stand a chance of doing so.

    What is a ‘state of mentality’ btw?

  • para

    The main thing that i do not want is for AW to finish his legacy by failing Arsenal, especially after all that he has done for the club.

    This would be so horrible that i cannot even bear thinking about it.

    AW is intelligent enough to realise that when things do not work, one has to continue tweaking it until it does or make a bold change.

    Still, in the back of my mind i am still really hoping(as all Arsenal fans are?) that this coming season reveals the next stage of the Arsenal plan.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The ‘World Class’ striker we all list after will cost £70m give or take 10. A quality midfielder will set us back in the order of £25m and a decent utility defender £10-15m. With promotions from within that is about the limit of what we might be able to expect this summer. This assumes that we can attract the right candidates.

  • Rich

    Meant to mention this earlier in the week. Interesting fact in the book ‘Money and Football : a soccernomics guide’

    ‘Over the last twenty seasons, the team spending the most money on player wages won the Premier League nine times out of twenty, the club paying the second most won seven times, the team with the third highest wage bill won three times. In 1993/94, Blackburn Rovers won with the fourth highest wage bill. No team paying less than this has won the premier league since then.

    One obvious thing to say is that this underlines how unprecedented it will be if Leicester clinch the title.

    Another is that it opens up the possibility that, in the austerity years, we may have had to pretty much make a choice between transfers and wages- that is we could be a little closer to the transfer spending of Chelsea, City and others, though still miles away, or prioritise wages and stay closer to them on that front.

    Similar choices will be made even today though there is/should be a lot more scope for manoeuvre.

    Anyway, you could write pages discussing all that. I won’t. I will reiterate that it is surely suspect in the extreme to interpret this year from Leicester and, to a lesser extent Spurs, as proof that the old near certainties have collapsed into ruin.

    It’s a possibility that some huge change is taking place (and the premier league seems an almost unique football situation to me, given the money in the league), but it’s more likely to be something else, a freakish season, and there’s little justification for using it as definitive proof of anything outside the immediate (Spurs have had a really good year relative to wages; Leicester have had an astonishingly good year)

  • GoonerDave

    @Arsenal13 – It would be crazy to empty our cash reserves. We can, however, comfortably spend an awful lot more than we are. Operating costs include the debt repayment and are not close to the amount of cash we have been hoarding.

    @Rich – I’m not one of those demanding Wenger’s head on a plate. I have and always will praise him for what he did during a downplayed but very dangerous financial period. However, for over 3 years now, we have been much, much wealthier. It is still incredible to me that we didn’t sign anyone besides Cech last Summer and I think a lot of fans feel that if we’d been more proactive, we’d have won the league or come close. At the very least, our manager should have used whatever resources were available in order to win. Your question re other managers: I think you mistake any voice of dissent as a Wenger out at all costs type. I’d be quite satisfied if AW spent a decent amount of money addressing deficiencies in the squad. I would only want him to leave if we are to endure another “nearly” season while sitting on a pile of cash.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I really can’t remember any striker having gone to another club last summer who has set the football world on fire and scored lots of goals and at least 25 goals this season.
    So it seems that nobody really of top quality was available last summer.

  • Pat

    It is still incredible that we didn’t sign anyone besides Cech last summer, says GoonerDave.

    Well, only if you think purchasing players is the only way of building a team.

    Possible reasons why we didn’t sign anyone besides Cech last summer – which I actually don’t think is technically true, but I can’t remember who else it was. Obviously someone too cheap or insignificant to be counted as a signing by those who only count the value of a player by how much he cost. (The fact that I can’t remember who it was is only proof of my bad memory and not a reflection on the player.)

    Anyway, possible reasons why we didn’t sign many people last summer:

    The players available wouldn’t suit the Arsenal style of play / were worse than the players we already have / were too expensive for what they are / were not on sale by the clubs they were already at / did not want to play in the premier league etc. etc.

    A lot of these sweeping statements need to be subjected to some close analysis.

  • Col

    James Leblanc – I think that if you are anti-Wenger, then aligning with the US right is not going to do the popularity of your views any favours. If they get portrayed as ‘lunatics’ they only have themselves to blame –
    – pro guns, despite the highest levels of gun death in any ‘first world’ country, by an order of magnitude (over 10,000 a year I believe).
    – racist, trigger happy police force that appears to be beyond criticism by any conservative (countless examples over the last year alone). At least our incompetent police generally only kill people through inaction.
    – homophobic, witness the number of US states passing homophobic laws right now
    – xenophobic e.g towards Mexicans currently, but there are countless other examples
    – pro religious discrimination, witness the enthusiasm for banning 1/4 of the world’s population on religious grounds (last I saw supported by more than half of the US, much more heavily amoung the right)
    – climate change deniers, almost to a man (just read what the Republican candidates say), often also actively promoting ant-scientific nonsense like creationism

    Yesterday we had broadcast all round the world a Trump supporter saying about how Trump is ‘presidential’ because he would enthusiastically drop nuclear weapons on civilian populations. If being opposed to all this me makes me ‘lefty progressive’ then count me in.

  • Jojo


    Without checking and assuming what you said is right about no strikers transferring last season and hitting 25 goals -if you look at availability that way, simplistically, then ok.

    I think we have all followed football long enough to know that the true extent of player (or even manager availability) on part depends on actionable interest from a club interested in their services.

    Said another way, I’m sure you, and everyone here, has seen literally hundreds of times when a player is not available, under contract, his club says he’s not available, but interest from another club results in him actually being available in the end (at the right price of course).

    Same thing with managers and the question of available managers with regards to replacing Wenger. Until the job actually opens up, then we will see who MAKES them self available for the job, as happens all the time in football.

    But back to strikers and what I think respectfully, is an over, and intentionally simplified portrayal on player availability. ..and going by your narrow parameters of only looking at “last summer”.

    Let’s be real for a second, it’s not only last summer that many within the fan base and outside observers have voiced their opinion on giroud as a main striker being inadequate to lead us to a title
    .actually this discussion has been going on for almost as long as the 3 or 4 seasonso he’s been at Arsenal. .and I’m sure you can find during that period strikers would have moved clubs and hit that threshold of goals you mentioned.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Jojo, but would they have been affordable for Arsenal at that moment in time?

  • Jojo

    @ Col..ironically this being a gooner forum where we complain about mischaracterizations, generalizations in the media, stereotyping etc… you’re doing the same with the US (where I have lived the last 20 years), it’s a huge country geographically, demographically and population wise and is in no way monolithic.

    It’s a divided country sure, but the vast majority are actually tolerant and open minded. .the overwhelming majority of people live near the coast and/or near major metropolitan centers which tend to be far more inclusive and progressive ..the popular vote (i.e. total number of votes ) almost always recently leans left, but as a representative democracy “equal” weight in given to areas with small populations, national economic contribution, and influence.

    The U.S. does a lot of bad in the world but also does a tremendous amount of good and giving, more than anyone else.

    Go to any major metropolitan area in the states and it’s actually very normal ..not “lunatics” walking around with AR-15s en masse.

  • GoonerDave

    Coming up with a remotely possible reason why we were so inactive last year does not excuse it in my opinion. This isn’t a court, and your doubts are not reasonable. If what you say is true, we would be the only club that couldn’t find a suitable player and this would be the only season it ever happened.
    I’m not a mathematician but if you work out those odds, they would be negligible at best. Perhaps a mathematician could actually work out those odds and subject your own statements to close analysis?
    Arsene Wenger is a human being, is entitled to make mistakes and is not exempt from critical analysis. You seem to have put him on a pedestal where he is infallible in your view. I believe that is completely wrong.

  • Jojo

    @ Walter..until you go in for a player , you never know (it depends, as you know, on any amount of variables that makes each transfer situation inherently unique). .that’s why one cannot over simplify the topic of “availability”.

    Things like length of remaining contract; positional need of buying club; respective financial situation of buying and selling club; system the buying club plays and how a recruit would fit in; willingness and desire of player to go to a certain destination over abother; injury situation and history; agent connections with respective clubs; and so many other factors ultimately can play a role in whatever a final price is, and who is available or not available ..

    But to answer your question in a simplified way..yes I do think they were some strikers that could have delivered what we wanted (no guarantees of course) during the giroud years that we could have afforded ..huguain, aubmeyang instantly spring to mind…and they are others

  • Col

    Jojo, I am well aware that not all people in the US are a right wing stereotype (most Democrats for a start), I have family there etc, but US attitudes to gun control, banning of muslims, creationism/christian fundamentalism, homphobic laws (which have actually been passed), the attitude of Republican candidates to climate change and a range of other issues, is a matter of public record. A material proportion of Americans (possibly a majority) will vote for either Trump or Cruz, both of whom support a range of completely obnoxious opinions, which presumably they support.

  • Chris

    Funny thing watching the game on Canal+ in french
    They are showing some guys with posters asking for a change

    HOWEVER the commentator is saying that this is not worth much as they most probably not reprentative, and that the press is only showing and talking about the buzz, the problems, and not about the rest. And sure, they could switch manager but what about any other one ? would he really be better ?
    And that this all is a set up at the 12th minute because 12 years (yeah sure, FA Cup counts for zilch, I forgot)

    Ha, now they at least show a guy with a poster saying he’s proud of Arsene.

    Better listen to french commentators….


  • I listen to anyone but the English one’s especially the ex Arsenal commentators Chris.

  • Porter

    Don’t have to listen to any commentary I just go by what I see and today I saw a turgid display of disjointed teamwork with little or no enterprise. I saw players arguing among themselves and displays of petulance .Yes it’s time for change. It’s time for the club from top to bottom to take a long hard look at itself and realise that despite the protest today not being in the Billy Wright level, significant numbers felt the need to join in and that their concerns need addressing and action for change needs to be taken for the good of the club.