The players are doing a bit of pre-season limbering up, our new man from the Orient is already here, there’s Chamakh too, Henri Lansbury looked last season like someone we ought to sign (and hey! we have him anyway), Jack Wilshire is back, Theo hasn’t been injured in the world cup, Djourou is fit, and already the moaning and groaning and whining and complaining and all that stuff is getting up.
“Will this at last be the season where we start spending the money?” shouted one blog yesterday. “We all know that last season was a failure,” said another. “The memory of that first half against Barca can only be removed by winning the league.”
Well, actually, what a load of turnips.
And a good job too that there were no blogs in the 1970/1 season – during which time (I am sure you will recall) we won lots of stuff. And we lost 0-5 to Stoke City who were as awful then as they are now. The same was true every season we won things – we had some rotten matches. I can even remember the upset with events during the unbeaten season – a fairly horrible 2-2 draw with Sam the Slug’s Bolton stands out.
Writing us off before we have started because Arsène Wenger hasn’t followed the clinically depressive nature of the blogsphere and taken us massively into debt seems par for the course.
But I am sure that once upon a time Arsenal were not supported from outside the ground by such a sad bunch of people. (And if someone feels this bad about stuff but is inside the ground then they must be even sadder. I mean fancy spending £1000 on a season ticket just to be made to feel miserable because the manager doesn’t know as much as you.)
So in the interest of mental health, I thought I would make everyone happier by giving a jolly good reason to be cheerful.
Arsène Wenger is our manager and not Fabbinici Cappuccino who is currently dodging the tax police and managing (I use the word in a broad sense) England.
Here’s a few ways in which our club could have changed had Mr Cappuccino taken over the reigns instead of our Great and Glorious Arsène Wenger
Chris Waddle recently told the story on Radio Five that when he said he was going to Marseilles players and managers looked at him suspiciously, asking if he was going to learn French.
When he said that of course he was, he was strongly advised not to. “Make them speak English,” he was told time and time again. He didn’t.
Now I know that Waddle played for the enemy, but I’ve always tried to admit that occasionally they found themselves in possession of sheer and total talent, and Chris Waddle was one of these. He also always comes across to me as a decent chap who talks a language I can get. Yes he slips into BBC-ese sometimes, but that’s just the pressure of working with Alan Greene.
Cappuccino has the look of a man who either expects us to learn Italian, or expects not to be questioned. Interestingly, the media often excuse his poor English. “We have to remember its not his first language,” said Garry L for the BBC the other day.
The same could be said of Sir Alex F Word, but he still gets his message across.
In fact Mr Cappuccino’s first language is money, but let’s leave that for the moment.
When Our Lord Wenger arrived he came in speaking excellent English. The joke was that Wenger speaks six languages, which is six more than most of the players in the England team.
Wenger famously arrived without baggage and kept the people who were already at the club. He did of course bring in some background staff of his choosing, but the Arsenal that we see day by day is the Arsenal of long term heritage – ex-players who have served the club all or much of their working life.
I don’t know what Pat Rice does other than run around a bit before a match, but it is good to see him there. I certainly know what Steve Bould and Liam Brady do. (Remember all that Liverpool Boot Room crap we used to get morning, noon and night from the media – their continuity plan looks feeble compared to Arsenal’s).
Fabinicci Cappuccino has so many Italian by-standers it is hard to know what any of them do. What does Baldini do? Dunno. What does Steve Rowley do? Finds brilliant kids and feeds them into the system.
Arsène Wenger faced a crisis on day one as the press laid out their position on foreign managers by laying siege to Highbury, demanding to see Arsène and shouting, “What is your view on the rumours Mr Wenger?”
Against all the advice from the old boys within the club (some of whom we must remember, had been there for over 2000 years) Arsène Wenger went to meet the gentlemen of the press.
“What rumours?” replied Arsène to the question.
“The rumours, Mr Wenger.”
So it went on until Arsène made it clear that he wanted a direct question which spelt out the detail, and he would respond. Of course none of the journos would risk the slander and libel case that would follow so they backed off, and the rumours were taken up by Manchester United who for eight years refused to stop their fans running the chants that are such a central part of that disgraceful club. The fans of Man U even released a record to celebrate their descent into hell.
Mr Cappuccino on the other hand faced the press and told them he was going to make public his daily analysis of how his squad were doing during the England campaign – and he would make money out of this. His respect index went into the negative and never recovered.
4. The contract
Arsène Wenger signs his contract as the old one runs out, and never breaks a contract. Ever. That’s why he arrived late from Japan. The Cappuccino Creature demanded that the FA remove a clause in his contract that allowed him to be sacked after the disastrous world cup outing, so he is still there, earning £6m a year to make England lose. (Actually I would like to point out to the fantastically awful football association – FAFA – that I would be willing to do the same job for half the salary).
5. Consistency or panic
Arsène Wenger has a philosophy and a plan. If the plan doesn’t work, he amends it slowly so as not to disrupt most of the arrangements in place. In other words he develops and changes. (I know the rabid mob like to say he is stubborn – but they mistake a lack of panic moves and jerky changes of course for refusal to change.)
Running out of centre backs he used Campbell – unthinkable before it happened but a clever move that worked. That unexpected change of approach is actually more Arsène Wenger than sticking doggedly with one plan that fails.
The Cappuccino equivalent is asking Paul Scholes and the coin thrower Jamie Carragher, to join the merry band, while suddenly dropping Theo (who he had repeatedly said was so important to his plans), ending up with the oldest team in world cup history.
(OK if you think that bringing back Campbell to help out last season was akin to bringing back Carragher then I guess we can go no further – but I would ask that you have a look at a video of Carragher in an England game, and Campbell playing for us last season).
I rather prefer Arsène Wenger over Fabbinici Cappuccino. But supposing one enter the pit and despaired for a moment like those supporters who start the season depressed and then go down from there. What then? Who instead? (And let’s limit the list to those who are available just for the hell of it.)
I can’t actually think…
“There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke.
So let us not talk falsely now,
The hour is getting late.”