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The philosophy of Arsène Wenger and how the North Koreans don’t get it



By Tony Attwood

The members of the North Korean branch of the Arsenal supporters club tend to consider Arsène Wenger a renegade running dog who can’t admit his mistakes, who clings to power when all the world that victory is inevitably theirs.

Their world view is a simple world view.

First, they set up a simplistic vision that says that winning now is everything and nothing else matters.  Winning at any cost is the motto.

Second, they analyse the situation at Arsenal through this narrow vision and say, hey, look, we ain’t won nothing, so by our own analysis this is failure.  Therefore it is failure because we have said so.

Third, they build into this analysis the notion that they can see what Arsène Wenger can’t see (what with them being intelligent and him being stupid and intransigent) and hey presto and QED (except they don’t speak Latin in North Korea, so they don’t say that last bit.)

Fourth, they tend to believe what they read in the papers and hear via radio and TV.   Even now there are people who believe that we once signed a keeper just by watching him on video, only to find when he arrived he was only 5’6″ tall.

As a result of the collapse of our great club, they say, the ground will soon be empty, and the club will, well, collapse.

I am of course parodying, but I do so to make a broader point.  Within the anti Arsène Wenger camp, as in North Korea, there is such a simple philosophy (“we know best”) and no theoretical base or perspective) that proper debate cannot happen.

What is rarely discussed however is how much are we willing to pay for a trophy?  Would the North Korean Arsenal Supporters Club accept a Ridsdale  model in which money that it is assumed we will earn in the future is spent on one big push to gain future success in the league – with the risk that if it doesn’t come, everything is wrecked for the future?    Or would they accept the Chelsea approach in which one rich owner comes in and does it his way?  Would it matter if we won the double next year, but in so doing bankrupted the club?

Because the monoliths have such a simplistic theory, there is no debate, only ranting and abuse.  Indeed I think this is why some web sites alter the comments of readers, or ban them all together if they expound a point that the Great Site Leader doesn’t like.  (And if ever there were to be a justification for calling the monoliths the North Korean Arsenal Supporters Club, it is that policy).  (And yes Untold does ban some people but at least we have a page up that says that we will ban a writer who is a plagiarist, who uses multiple identities, who uses a fake email address etc).

Thinking thus I thought I would try and define the Arsène Wenger philosophy of football in as simple way as possible (in case any members of the North Korean politbureau are reading.  Just for the hell of it.  It is not complete, but it is a start.

1.The world changed when Chelsea were taken over by Abramovich and regenerated as the KGB in Fulham with unlimited funds removed from the poor of Russia.  The likes of Arsenal, and any other club that did not want to be beholden to such a form of economics would never be able to compete with the KGB’s approach, of “if it moves buy it” and so had to do something else. Arsène Wenger realised that if it happened once it would happen again, (as it did) and if Arsenal were to compete we would need a new system of getting the top players.   Simply trying to outbid the KGB and the Arabs would just bankrupt the club, not least because (as Man C have since shown) such clubs could issue edicts which told other clubs who they could sell on to.  I have heard Rangers and Celtic do this in a simple way in Scotland (“We’ll sell you X but with a clause that says you won’t sell him to Y”).  Man City seem to have gone way beyond that now in their transfer dealings, and such a development has to be taken into account when planning the future.

2  That to run a football club you have to set up something that will be sustainable year after year. At the time the KGB took control at Chelsea there was no mention of the Financial Doping Regulations of UEFA and therefore it was certainly true that Abramovich could buy a team, and win the league, and then buy another team and win the league again.   The only way around this would be to set up something quite different, rather than try and compete in the transfer market.   The first move was to bring in obscure players from elsewhere in Europe, but this was a temporary solution as other clubs quickly caught on.    And with Financial Doping being on the horizon it was clear another system was needed.

3.  This new approach, which Arsène Wenger invented, involved bringing in a range of young players (aged 16 to 19) from further afield.   It was recognised in advance that many of them would not work out, but over a period of years a number of them would start to mature into players that the KGB and Man Arab would be after.  Although one or two of the less intelligent players would be willing to move to the KGB most would be bright enough to realise that they would have a greater chance to develop their football to the highest level if they stayed.  Such an approach would have a high fall-out level, since it is hard to judge at 16 or 17 just how a player will develop but even with a 70% drop out rate, it would still be a lot cheaper way of buying in new players than the KGB approach.  When silly young players with no brains did decide to leave it ought to be possible to get some money for them – either through the first transfer, or through the re-sale fee.  The notion that the Tiny Totts had to pay Arsenal for Bentley was noted by many and still causes amusement.

4.  At the same time a new long term youth project should be initiated in which a group of 11 year olds should be brought together, who would then move through the club, and begin to emerge into first team contention when they got to 17 to 19.  The combination of this “youth project” and the bringing in of the 16-19 year olds would form the basis of the new team.  What’s more, once set up the youth project should be maintained year after year – you have a bunch of 18 year olds coming through one year, and then the next year, and the next.  The fact that Arsenal are the only team to get three youth trophies in two years shows how this is working.  Players joining at 11 are easier to mould into a playing style than those who join at 17, so the drop out rate is lower.

5.  This approach would have the benefit of keeping salaries down since the club would have a sizeable chunk of young players earning less than the average wage in the top clubs. This would free up money for the top players who were brought in to fill any gaps left by the youth project.

6.  Such an approach would also have the benefit of enabling the club to play a very high speed game – a game which most of the older defenders could not stand up to.

7.  To make this work the club would also need to have the very best training facilities, and so before the group recruited aged 11 got much older a special training facility had to be installed which could accommodate both the older established players, and the youngsters.

8.  To maximise this approach the club needed its own ground with the latest facilities for both the players and the fans. Although the two years of playing Euro games at Wembley was an important experiment in order to to prove that the club could attract crowds of 75,000 the key was to have the games played in a new stadium which had all of the most modern facilities.  So while other clubs risked everything on players who might, or might not, be any good, Arsenal invested in a project much more likely to be a financial success.  The size of support was tested, the waiting list for seasons was there for all to see, and there was the income from Highbury.  Even if part of the project went wrong there was enough variation in the project for success to look very likely.

9.  Again, to make this whole project work it was necessary to find the very best players in the world who could be brought in to play at the highest level.  This would mean having scouts in every country in the world – and hence World Wide Scouting was taken to a new level.  The key was not just to bring in 27 year olds at the height of their ability, although that could be done.  Rather it was also to provide a constant stream of talent from whom the best could be picked, even in countries like Brazil which were swarming with scouts.

10.  Attitude was defined as a key element in a player’s approach, and if the attitude of the player was not one that will allow the player to listen and understand what the manager is saying, the player should go.  And some did go.  The club became the master, not the players.

And that was it.  I have expressed all this rather inelegantly, but in essence this is the Philosophy of Arsène Wenger as I see it.  To reach its fulfilment  will take years, but once done it will place Arsenal at a point that is beyond the reach of all other teams.

And that is the overall point: that it takes a long time to put into place a project as complex and long lasting as this. During that time one needs faith that the fans will not desert the club.  While members of the North Korean Supporters Club have turned against the management and the philosophy, the ground is still full, with the view that there is already success (year after year in the Champs league for example) and there is more to come.  Meanwhile there is a real expectation that those who are about to fall from grace never to recover.

To members of the North Korean branch of the Arsenal supporters club I bid you greetings.  And if you do all want to give up your season tickets because it is all so awful at Arsenal just now, I know a hell of a large number of people who would like them instead.

People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

41 comments to The philosophy of Arsène Wenger and how the North Koreans don’t get it

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Which geography represents the following philosophy?

    We charge the highest prices for supporters in English football, spread stories at season ticket renewal time about experienced signings, then sign youngsters. We talk about ambition but play inexperienced teams in Cup games when it is clear that we can’t win the league. We sell FA Cup semi-final tickets at £80 a pop then don’t play our Russian as it might offend the opposition’s owner (which says our opposition’s owner is more important to Wenger et al than the supporter’s hard-earned cash) and promptly get done for in midfield.

    Answer the question please…………..the lack of an answer to this legitimate set of statements is just as glaring as you claim the North Korean’s false world position is……..it seems a reasonable charge sheet to say: wouldn’t it be more honorable to make £20m less profit a year and knock £20m off the price of entry if the plan is go as we are??

    This is not saying the philosophy is wrong, it’s saying that the pricing structure puts supporters lower down the pecking order than inexperienced players, opposition owners and the media.

    Is that the philosophy of Arsene Wenger??

  • Peter

    Very understandable Tony and an excellent read. However, I think there may be many – especially those in the NK branch of the ASC – that will still misunderstand what you are saying. I would suggest that people with at least three functioning brain cells will be able to understand; but where does that leave those in the NK branch of the ASC?

  • budock

    we can all agree with the overall aims of the project..this does not mean however that mistakes have not been made.shay given was available and cheap..he’s playing for man city.Why?

  • Phil

    Rhys: Wenger is quioted as saying he did it so that the teaam had the confidence they could play the Champions League without Arshavin. There’s also the argument that a pint-sized Russian would’ve been muscled out of the game versus Chelsea.

  • Rhys: “We charge the highest prices for supporters in English football, spread stories at season ticket renewal time about experienced signings, then sign youngsters.”

    I am not sure there is any connection between what the club charges and the rest of that sentence. Pricing structure is to do with a variety of factors that were not really part of my piece. Nor am I sure that Wenger said that he would make experienced signings. The signing of young players is a constant at Arsenal these days, that’s part of the process. But he did say there would be signings, and we have two so far: a forward and a defender. Since many clubs did not want to deal until after the world cup that is not a bad start.

    We talk about ambition but play inexperienced teams in Cup games when it is clear that we can’t win the league.

    I am not at all sure it was clear we could not win the league at the time of the cup games (towards the end of our long run of victories, when we got top of the league, it was a possibility).

    Playing the youngsters in cup games is a way of giving them experience, and a way of seeing how well they can cope with the step up to the big stage. It seems perfectly valid to me.

    But even if I agreed with the whole premise (which I don’t) I would not dismiss an entire philosophy or career on the basis of a team picked for a particular game.

    “We sell FA Cup semi-final tickets at £80 a pop then don’t play our Russian as it might offend the opposition’s owner (which says our opposition’s owner is more important to Wenger et al than the supporter’s hard-earned cash) and promptly get done for in midfield.”

    I have no knowledge of Arsenal not picking a player because of the opposition’s owner at any time and would find it very much out of keeping with Arsenal’s approach to football. Something like that needs some proof.

  • Richard B

    Basing an arguement on one game (albeit an FA Cup semi final) does more to support Tonys view of the correctness of the long term strategy than most arguements could. However, since it’s been raised, the state of the Wembley pitch has a lot to do with team selection and the fact that Arshavin scored four at Liverpool a few days later to almost get us a valuable away win speaks volumes. We also dominated the first quarter of the game and went 1-0 up. It was the defence that let us down, not Arshavins absence. Neither is it the case that ‘we’ charged £80 a ticket- the was W Mine was outstandlng value at £26 and I’m guessing that the average price paid was closer to that than £80.

  • Richard B

    To continue! Prices charged were Wembley’s decision anyway.
    It is also very naive to have a business plan which cuts prices at Emirates when there is a waiting list for seats. The only debate that should happen at board level in a properly run business is whether to increase prices or freeze them. The current economic climate dictates that it’s the latter.
    Tony’s points that seem to be predicated on Arsenal anticipating the UEFA dictats are, I think, very close to the truth. There would be no point in agreeing to support the UEFA stand against financial doping (having coined the term in the first place) and then started to act in the transfer market like Chelsea did. If there is a mutaully agreed stance between AFC and UEFA such action would totally undermine it.

  • Livib

    Well done Tony. Time will prove you’re right. Yeah we could have bought Given..He could have been Shite for us. Almunia might have been amazing this season were it not for the untimely deaths in his family. An underlying philosophy reduces these unknown variables to certainties. For sure we’ve got a new ground. For sure we’ve got a new state of the art Training facility. For sure we are not going broke any time soon and we’ll be competitive this season and playing to capacity crowds while other teams try to copy our model. And for sure WENGER IS A GENIUS.

  • Gf60

    Surprised to see that the North Koreans also have Cesc decamping (God that’s close to an awful pun.)instead of asking why Arsenal haven’t lodged a complaint with FIFA about Barca’s tapping up. I think I know why by the way. What point in fining Barca if they can’t pay the bill?
    Yesterday’s appalling display by those two mega vertical smiles made a supposed Spanish celebration into a Barcelona embarrassment. Cesc’s face and speed of taking the rag off said a lot.

  • Atwood Fan

    Thanks again for a breath of fresh air Tony

    The reasons why sites like le grub are loving to hate all that is good about our club, and instead assume they have the answer is simple – it is a question of intelligence. Stupid people cant see past their own ideas.

    To analyse where we are in light of where we are going and where we have come from is a great ability of yours and unfortunately a stella swigging chav with an IQ matching his shoe size would have trouble grasping many of the things you, or any other loyal fans say. They are too busy asking for us to buy players because they are “british”.

    This site is very close to replacing arseblog as my number 1 Arsenal site. You both have some fine things to say generally.

    Keep it up!

  • joe

    I think i like you tony the way you explain to those who don’t know how a club should be properly managed and run.
    I like your column pls try as much as possible daily to be comming up with something. it always dry without you i think you will make a great teacher so, tell them what it is.

  • walter

    I think the shirt thing, sorry to go off topic Tony, was a delibarete move from Barcelona in the hope that Arsenal fans would turn their back on Cesc.
    You could see that Cesc didn’t like it at all and he was forced in to it and the way and the speed he removed the shirt said it all to me.
    Cesc our Gunner and captain. I sure hope that Arsenal take steps against those cunts, no matter if they can pay the bill or not

  • TheSKAGooner

    I think it’s clear that AW’s evil plan, hatched lo those many years ago, was to ensure that Rhys – and Rhys alone – paid the highest ticket price in all of England. Unfortunately, being a Masters degree holder in economics does not make one a database management specialist. Arsene just hasn’t figured out yet how to define the tables and queries in the database so that Rhys is singled out for personal ticket pricing.

    But that day will come, and that right soon!

    😉

  • demondonkey

    tony i have to say ………….i agree with everything you said,
    i know it a shock but hey ho.
    i think though, to keep saying its wenger’s idea to produce player through our youth ,is a little bit wrong!!
    as arsenal, have always tried to build the first team,through our youth academy’s. as far back as the fifty’s and sixties,we strived to bring on young players,at arsenal till we won the double in 71 with players who came up the ranks at arsenal like rice,simpson and george,and many more.
    this tradition carried on with players like brady,rixs, adams,keown,davies,stapleton, o’leary,merson, parlour, fabrigas,cole(yes cashly) clichy.and again many many more.
    so please it may be wengers way now but not his idea, arsenal’s boardroom,can hold thier heads high with what they have done at arsenal over a 125 years,and we fans should remenber that,yes we don’t win as many trophys as we would like but, i rather be supporting arsenal for thier traditions and believes then say man utd or chelsea’s for thiers.
    have a good day tony and every true arsenal fans(ones who know the clubs history,and what we about,and not the ones who demand success on a daily basis).
    up the gunners can’t wait for the new season,so we can moan once again about the rights and wrongs off arsenal(another tradition)AND HERES TO THE NEXT 125YEARS.

  • FunGunner

    @ Rhys
    “We charge the highest prices for supporters in English football, spread stories at season ticket renewal time about experienced signings, then sign youngsters.”

    Ditto to Tony’s response. Also, Arsenal do NOT spread stories about signings and we DO make experienced signings. It’s just that we buy youth and young players as well.

    Ticket prices are high because of the level of demand. If you feel the prices are too high, don’t buy the tickets.

  • OzGun

    Great article, Tony – really well put together. demondonkey has a good point about the long history and tradition of the youth policy (and references some fantastic names that bring back harsh north bank based winters for me!)

  • abiodun

    Not related: But Spain got all the praise with “fancy football” at the world cup, but Arsenal is ridiculed for the same style in the EPL. Can anyone explain this to me? Agreed that we need to tighten our defensive posture, though.

  • The reason abiodun is that the papers had bought into the Spain approach in advance and were saying how wonderful it was – so they kept saying it through all those 1-0 wins.

  • xiozuqa

    Interesting articles you write, but me think you worship wenger a bit too much. I dont think all “NKs” are stupid either. At the end of the day, its business, and money talks.

  • munaf

    Having just spent £10m on another unknown French speaking player (he might be good but then again he might just be another Cygan!!) it got me wondering what other average players we might be buying in. If all we had was £30m to spend in the first place as a budget we have just blown a third of it on a club player who has just one season in the top flight, what or who else are we going to end up buying?? Surely if money is tight the way to raise funds is selling off your squad players (I think especially of at least one goalkeeper, Denilson, Vela and Eduardo) and replacing them with better players with the extra money raised. Better players are established internationals and not 15yr olds from around the world who might be good. It says to me that the lack of funds is going to keep us in the hunt for fourth place and first is a very long way away!! This is the most worrying fact as all of the teams around us seem ready to spend and spend bigger than we will. Anyone agree or disagree????

  • Finsbury

    Why do people insist on making factually inaccurate statement’s in order to support their point of view? How …um, well…it is a little childish. Or just a bit dumb. And tedious.

    FC RBS? ManIOU? Are they spending? Not yet.

    Chelski NKVD? Less signings then AFC so far(? I don’t actually care)…they can buy however many unknown €10M CB’s that they like, but they will still have John Terry, Captain, Leader, Legend.

    $iteh? Yeah, well they splashed the cash alot, and did it work? Nope. Will it work? Do I care?
    Robinhio! Heh. He’s still a $iteh player. The more the merrier, I reckon. Both Toure’s will have a grudge. That’s just good fun, nothing to be afraid of. Unless, you like being afraid?

    That team from the Offshore Tax Haven have been spending $ for a decade. Who knows what’s happened to the Ca$h, but, well,

    Um, they only just qualified for the CL…good effort I reckon! A decade, the budget of a small nation, and they’ve finally made it.
    Well done.

  • MUNAF I do think this is getting so daft that it really has to stop. I don’t mind having a proper debate about Wenger – indeed I would love to – but you seem to read my pieces about the sillyness of some of the anti-Wenger lobby and then take it as a road map on how to write comments.

    Let me try and spell this out. You say…

    “Having just spent £10m on another unknown French speaking player (he might be good but then again he might just be another Cygan!!) it got me wondering what other average players we might be buying in.”

    You say we don’t know how good our new “unknown” player is, but then you talk about “what other average players we might be buying in”.

    There is no connection between one part of that statement and the other. You might as well write,

    Given that Arsenal are not going to win the league I wonder how many supporters we will get in the stadium when we are in the second division.

    It is nonsense – there is no logic, because the opening premise makes no sense at all.

    Even if there was any sense anywhere in your statement, it is undermined by two other issues. First, our new player is unknown in England but not in France. Since the general view in England was that England were good enough to get to the world cup semi-finals I think that opinion in England over footballers should not be considered. Second Cygan cost £2m in 2002 and was then sold to Villareal in 2006 for, oh what was it, let me see, oh yes, £2m

    You obviously think the man was a dolt – the fact is he was brought as a stop-gap reserve centre half. In 2005–06, with every left back and half the other players all out injured Cygan became left back until he too was injured. Given that by then he was about 5th choice left back we didn’t do that badly, winning 12 out of 20 games he played.

    So, now, with those facts, what on earth is your point?

    Do I agree or disagree with you? There is nothing to disagree or agree with because there is not a single shred of coherent debate or argument. It is as if I said, “I eat yes” and then say “who agrees?”

  • walter

    Munaf,
    first: which official Arsenal person said we had 30M to spend? Wenger, Gazidis? If not then the rest of your argument is just blowing in the wind and we cannot reply to this.
    second: you tell we have to get rid of squad players. But with the injury crisis we face the last year we need all the squad players we can have to face such a time.
    Third: Madrid and Mand City spending big and won nothing last season. Don’t focus on spending big for players.

    The point of Tony’s excellent article is just that we do it in another way: building our own team mostly from within.

  • munaf

    Ok here goes given the fact the Board have proudly stated that they do not invest their own money into any club projects (not even projects that are not in the primary interest of Arsenal Football Club apparently)its safe to conclude that some of the money to pay off the Loans came from the proceeds from the sales of the Invincibles that were not re-invested in the football team as they would have been as you point out from 1998-2005. Additionally the came from other revenue that might have been invested in the football team being shifted to debt repayment in all likelihood. Its also safe to say investment in the football team was reduced as a precaution against if the 100 million could not be paid form the proceeds from Highbury Square immediately. I believe the re-development over-stretched the club financially and the Board reacted to that by reducing spending any way it could to make money to repay its debts and the main way was by reducing investment in the football team. I believe the need for more cash now created by the Highbury re-development led to the tightening of the wage structure as well which helps mimize transfer spending as well. It also led to penny-wise pound-foolish deals with Nike and Emirates Air deriven from our perspective from the need for more cash now than even more cash later because the re-development debt over-stretched Arsenal financially. Furthermore we have Fabregas wearing a Barca shirt, although he didn’t put it on himself he looked a bit sheepish. It was if he was thinking, Oh well the secret’s out, although it’s not really a secret is it. And we don’t seem able to stump up the cash to buy Mark Schwarzer. Pocket Change in the corner shop, so much for Wenger’s promises about only looking for top players who will improve the squad. Top players, a 37 year old average goalkeeper, and a freebie plus a cheapo from that melting pot of talent the French League, and in one case the lower regions of the French League. What have we come to

  • Fedda

    seriously, give it a rest munaf and stop copy pasting from around the internet. Make up your own mind. Here is a link to the original post that Munaf is copying. Can he be banned please? Can find numerous of his posts posted hours earlier on different forums I read by different posters. Link: http://onlinegooner.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=24325&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&sid=57cb9a7957da9a827e2059e275036fd1

  • steww

    Excellent article Tony, and with one glaring exception the best comment section online too. Of course we heard similar ill informed shite about Vermaelen last year and look how wrong that was.
    A couple of points, although why I bother I don’t know

    “Furthermore we have Fabregas wearing a Barca shirt” No we don’t.
    “we don’t seem able to stump up the cash to buy Mark Schwarzer” says who?
    “What have we come to” read Tony’s article, it clearly shows where we are. If you can’t see the progress, the staggering achievements for which, with only two exceptions last season, every single other team in the country would die, despite the worst injury crises I have ever witnessed, then you are following the wrong sport..

  • Fedda – much obliged – I do keep an eye out for these things, but didn’t spot this one. I won’t go back and cut the articles because they have introduced a discussion, but the matter is now dealt with. apologies to everyone who has wondered what the hell was going on with this writer, but he/she is a multiple poster, plagiarist and multiple name user.

    Actually the strange thing is that virtually everyone who has come on here and argued against the pro-Wenger position is in fact in that camp,

    It doesn’t mean that there are no serious anti-Wengarians around, but rather that the ones who try and construct a serious argument are well, sort of, odd.

  • jason

    Why is it when Wenger buys a player less than 23 years old they’re classed as ‘kids’, Im pretty sure when he does buy a player, its because thats what he sees! Not a Kid but a Footballer!! Which is what Arsenal play! Our ‘Kids’ are vastly experienced with alot of them playing regular football be it on loan, with reserves or internationally.

    Or ‘fans’ are really becoming a bit much lately, with their calls for sackings and selling, read an artical the other day asking for Theo (who for some reason is not classed as a kid) being sent out on loan?? and in the same artical it said Diaby and Nasri are ‘passengers’. The Wenger philosophy is in my eyes perfect, buy top class young players cheap, mold them to world class players, but we need to stop selling!

    And can you blame Wenger for buying young players, our older signings like Eduardo and Rosicky have missed alot of football due to injury. Which leads me to my next point, its been injures thats cost us over the last few years not inexperience! Van Persie, Nasri, Cesc, Rosicky, Eduardo, Clichy, Gibbs, Gallas…..And EVERY other Arsenal player spent time on the treatment table last season, snd for the guy that went on about dropping Arshavin against Chelsea, I doubt after some of his performances last season he’d made much of a difference!

    Finally just glad that Van Persie hasnt returned with an injury!! since it is mostly during internationals that he gets injured, Himself and Chamakh should be a great partnership next season, and as much as City and Chelsea spend it can’t buy the togetherness and play that the Gunners show each season, ‘Kids’ and ‘Experienced’ players alike!

  • demondonkey

    just like to add one point to munaf (got feeling he supports man utd) when you say ….
    Having just spent £10m on another unknown French speaking player (he might be good but then again he might just be another Cygan!!)?
    may i say in reply, just because we know nothing about him,don’t mean he may not be any good ,wenger not got a bad record on signing unknowns,yes we do get some bad ones, but we get some bloody good ones too, remenber henry was a ordinaray winger when he signed for us,vieria could’t get into the the milan team,who heard off petite before he came to arsenal,take offer managers,like graham who brought us wright, who thought he’d end up top arsenal goalscorer till henry arrived.
    rioch, who brought in bergkemp who struggled to impress in italy,these players all came in with a tag off “can he or won’t he make it” thats football no matter what you pay out it a gamble if the player fits in or settles or even be any good.
    so just shut up and get be hind our new signings and get behind wenger and arsenal, because,at the end of the day ,if arsenal win a trophy or not i for one will still be following THE ARSENAL, year in year out through good times and bad till i die, so COME ON YOU YOU MIGHTY GUNNERS

  • gooner80

    Tony

    I know you are a firm supporter of wenger and AKB (arsenal knows best) but what i really would like to see is a listb of some of his downsides from a die hard Wenger supporter because lets face it he is a great manager but he is not perfect,I like wenger but he frustrates the hell out of me.

    I once read on le grove that I quote ” some arsenal fans would condone wenger, even if there was a video on you tube showing him drowning puppies”

    on know this is extreme but there are AKB people out there with very blinkered views the same with the doom and gloomers (D&G)

  • drvics (mumbai gunner)

    Brilliant work Tony, as always.
    I must say I have to admire your patience with the naysayers, especially when they show a blatant disregard for everything logical.
    What most people fail to realize is that when we say “Arsene knows best” it doesn’t mean that he will never make mistakes, it just means that we can trust him to make the most logical decision, keeping Arsenals long term interest in mind at all times, within the constraints that exist (which we could only speculate about). And he has done that time and time again.
    One of the very very few chinks in the armour that I can think of with regards to Arsene (especially his economic background) is his love for his players. He refuses to earmark players as inventory items that can be traded for top dollar. That is why we see players given 2nd and 3rd chances to prove themselves and also keeping their interest in mind during transfers (as in the case of the Great Gilberto Silva to the greeks).
    But in the end that is why I love and respect him so much.
    In a mediocre world where ‘win at all cost’ is the norm, le boss has restated that excellence and harmony are just as, if not, more important.
    I dont know if its ‘the right way’ but it is definitely ‘the righteous way’ and that my friends, is a thing to cherish.
    P.s.- Would love to read a biography of Le Boss someday and find out what were the reasons behind some of his famous decisions. Maybe you give him a call sometime after he hangs up his boots (hopefully years from now) Tony, with an offer to pen his memoirs. I am sure a few hundred thousand ‘Untold’ fans will not mind giving their recommendations for the same.

  • Babatunde

    @gooner80

    Somewhere in between 2 extremes lies the truth, no one here in all truth would argue that Arsene hasn’t made mistakes, but no one here would also want to see him leave because he is the best manager for this club and has improved this club which is all one can ask for as a supporter.

    It depend on what you focus on as a person, the Anti Wenger Batallion (AWB) of the Arsenal supporter’s club can see no good at all in what Arsene has done, therefore they nit pick at individual players and individual games as a reason to get rid of him, sites such as this have risen to counter that notion that all Arsenal fans are of this same mindset.

    The AWB think only in the short term tactical while most of what “they” term the (AKB) think in the long term strategic.
    The facts are, Arsene has got some things wrong but a whole lot of other things right and in truth has done well by this club which is why you see no member of the board going against him and yes that includes even people like Lady Nina and David Dein who are no longer on the board.

    Only someone who can’t think beyond his nose would want Arsene gone, my brother considers me AKB and we do have loud arguments but even he would not want to see Arsene gone because he can see the man’s genius despite his frustrations at our recent lack of silverware.

  • IndianGooner

    @Babatunde,
    Arsene isnt Perfect. He has made mistakes in the past. And sometimes even I feel He could have done something different. There might be some reason why He took those decisions.

    When we moved Stadium, it was UNDERSTOOD that we would struggle for few years. There would be shortage of resources and I feel the board accepted this. Inspite of these limitations we have exceptionally well in the last 5 years. I agree we havent won any “trophies or silverware” but if we had a bit of luck and lesser injuries, we would have won atleast 1 of 4 trophies (2 League titles, our First Champions League trophy and a Carling Cup).

  • gooner80

    i would just like to see a detailed appraisal of wengers philosophy, you surely cant evaluate someones ideology without looking at the flaws.

    i totally understand the untold way because of the d&g, but if you were to even do a SWOT analysis this would show a stronger article and in some ways could counter the negative arguments by showing you have taken into account the weaknesses and Im sure wenger gets more right than he gets wrong, I dont know what his IQ is but I am sure it is pretty high but refusing any concessions gives the D&G more fire against the AKB

  • Gooner Gal

    Gooner80, why don’t you do a run down of what you think Wenger’s Strength’s, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are?

  • Babatunde

    @gooner80

    That is a good idea from Gooner Gal, Tony laid down the challenge a while ago stating rules of debate that I consider to be very fair, you might consider taking him up and I’m sure we all would enjoy reading what you have to say or at the least try to give our own reasons why if we don’t agree with you.

  • Richard B

    When will peple realise that spending lots of money on players that the whole world has heard of is actually an admission of failure? It means that the club has failed to produce its own players and failed to spot them at an early enough stage in their career to get them in relatively cheaply. Three years back Man City had one of the most respected youth set-ups in the country. They won the FA Youth Cup by beating a very expensively assembled (largely from abroad) Chelsea team in the final. Other than for the money what sensible young player is now going to join them knowing that the chanced of him getting into the first team are virtually nil?
    The way Arsenal do things these days is part of an overall marketing strategy that is publicised around the world and has young players queueing up to join us.
    Wenger himself has said that if you are the parent of a child prodigy on the piano you want them to go to the best music school that you can possibly find. Arsenal are now probably in the top half dozen football training academies in the world. They are also probably the most financially secure and therefore in a fantastically strong position to ‘fill in the gaps’. But to do so at the top of the market is just bad business. It’s like betting more than you can actually win (as Abramovich did on behalf of Chelsea) and that can only lead to two things. Either bankrupcy or the rules being changed to stop you doing it – exactly what is happening now.

  • gooner80

    because Im not the one writing articles, I just pride myself on looking at both sides of the argument and then making my own mind up,to just display one side of an argument is along the lines of propaganda and in some ways lowering yourself to the level of the le grove.

    To be honest I think some people who comment on here not naming names just agree with everything the writers say in a cult like following and I have STATED MANY MANY times I am a supporter of wenger but as soon as I say anything against the cult you get attacked like I have struck some nerve, I think a few people have been chased away from commenting because you cant have a decent debate you must only agree with what the consensus says, well I am sorry I have independent thoughts and if you think a lob-sided view is a good read then well that is down to you.

    the way I see it arsenal knows best supporters keep coming out with the same points just like le grovers and the best appraisal is to show you have considered the other side. You cant look at the big picture if you dont look at all sides.

    since people keep giving me challenges I have a challenge for GOONERGAL and babatunde why dont you write an article showing in detail why you think a one sided argument makes a good read you write this then I will write an article do YOU accept?

  • Shard

    I’m with gooner80 in this regard. I too would love to see an article trying to acknowledge what logic MIGHT exist in the arguments expressed by the doom and gloomers. I really like this site but sometimes i feel a bit uncomfortable reading what I think would feel like propaganda to anyone who doesn’t agree with the overall sentiment. I think it weakens the articles a bit at times and reduces the chance of ‘conversion’ to its point of view.

    However gooner80 I think sometimes its better to read a one sided article as well. The reason being that biases are present in ALL writing, no matter how fair and objective the writer tries to be, and its better to read the article knowing upfront that its written with an agenda/idea in mind rather than have it pass as the ‘truth’. I think the banner saying ‘supporting the Lord Wenger’ says it all. It tells me the agenda and yet depicts it as a humourous and maybe even a self-mocking tone (apologies Tony if you wrote that in all seriousness)

  • Gooner80

    Thank you SHARD that is all I was trying to convey, I understand the UNTOLD way and Tony, walter, and others do a great job, like I was saying to see an article trying to acknowledge what logic MIGHT exist in the arguments expressed by the doom and gloomers, was my point Shard thank you at least Iam not alone.

    For the record I have had a go at some of those le grovers for being so blinkered that is why it annoys me when the comments from some bloggers are of the same level because I consider this site far more intelligent

  • Yomi

    Hi Tony, brilliant article. It’s a refreshing change to see that some blogger still believe in fact. I just found your blog about 2 week ago and have become an instant junkie.

    Cheers.