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What is wrong with Arsenal, what is wrong with football and how to put it all right

by Tony Attwood

I was invited yesterday by one reader, to express my view on what I would do about Arsenal following the start to the season of one win and two defeats.

In one sense I wanted to say, “read Untold Arsenal and you’ll see what I think,” but then I thought I would try and formulate the whole concept into one article hopefully not too long articles.

But of course it is not that simple: and I was ready to expand on my views when the whole broadband network from EE went down.  And since I’m with EE, that was that.  Hence the delay in my reply: but for what it is worth, here’s my view on why there is no point in wasting time shouting for Wenger to go.

The view is based on three premises:

First, football is self-evidently complex and simple one issue solutions generally don’t work in complex situations.  By which I mean, simply buying a couple of players and replacing the manager is more likely not to work, than to work as historic evidence shows.  Indeed such simple transitions are more likely to make matters worse than better.   As proof of this notion, consider this: if simple solutions did work, then surely everyone else would be using them and making them work.

What makes this even weirder is that the media propagate two contradictory stories simultaneously: one is that when a club does badly it is the manager’s fault, and the other that it is an outrage and a scandal how quickly clubs change mangers.  Both stories give them simplistic no-cost news: the perfect dream for newspapers.

Second football is dynamic.  Meaning that change is not just a matter of Arsenal changing – all the other clubs are changing at the same time.  In a League like Germany’s it is possible to dominate, as Bayern have done, by becoming so big and powerful that no one can challenge.  In England we have several clubs that see winning the championship as their natural position and they have the resources to do it, so challenging them is extremely hard.

As a result if Arsenal does x then Man City does xx, then Chelsea does xxx then Man U does xxxx.  And so on.  To be a player in that type of situation a club needs resources on an industrial scale.  Man U has that because after the Munich air disaster it grew a worldwide support base (I am not suggesting this was done cynically, but it happened) and this has given them their mega income.

So the world has changed, but many supporters and journalists behave as if football were still an open competition that anyone can win.  It simply isn’t.

In the 1930s Arsenal were the Bayern Munich of the Football League, surviving even the early death of our manager and a boardroom of ninnies.  But compared with now dominating football was easy then.  Chapman made Arsenal great because he was the master tactician (even now very few people actually know what he did, or at best thinking he pulled a player from midfield further back into defence.

That is a horrible and misleading simplification: Chapman invented a whole new tactical approach, far more complex than moving one position, but it was so complex it took him five years of no trophies to get it right.  That was why we stayed so far ahead of the competition through the 1930s – and indeed Chapman’s failure to get it right faster led to his tendering his resignation – which was fortunately rejected.

In the early Wenger years Wenger also used a revolution.  While Chapman’s thinking grew from the change in the off side law in 1925, Wenger used the Bosman ruling to bring in quality players with EU citizenship at incredibly modest transfer fees while the rest of football looked on sniggering at t  he stupidity of this silly foreigner who, in the word of Adams, knew nothing of English football.

Others of course followed but it took them years to develop the knowledge of European footballers that Wenger had.

In those two revolutions Arsenal were at the forefront, but this time with whole states or multi-billionaires who are willing to spend money over and over, we are left behind.  Our one chance was FFP, but that too has been subverted.

As a result Chelsea is running a scheme with 30+ on loan players and to all intents and purposes a second club in the Netherlands while its training facility upgrades are paid for by the owner – outside of FFP.  It’s new stadium will also be paid for by the owner – outside FFP.

Manchester City is part of a six-club franchise spread across the world which can seemingly trade between those six clubs without any restrictions.  (I never really understood just how clone like the City Group had become until I went to visit the ground of Melbourne City.  If you ever get a chance, go and have a look).

Meanwhile Fifa and Uefa are clearly corrupt, the FA is quite clearly inept, and the government refuses to act on any of the incompetence and corruption that litters the game.  PSG is no longer a club but a outlet of a state that controls 90% of the world’s gas supply.  Refereeing has become questionable (take a look again at Barcelona v PSG if you don’t believe me).

So the issue becomes how do we compete with these clubs which not only have unimaginable sums of money, but also no real sense of a set of previously accepted boundaries.

To compete with such organisations as oil rich mini-states and multi-billionaires who have made football their hobby and who will lash vast amounts of money on a club, we need one of those two options to take over Arsenal.  Stan Kroenke is not one such person.  If you look at his other ownerships you will see that they are not high achieving clubs.  He’ll do things to them to keep the profits running (as with for example moving a team from one city to another) but he doesn’t invest in clubs to make them win trophies.

For almost all of its existence Arsenal was owned by a group of shareholders: indeed if you ever read my series on Henry Norris at the Arsenal which is being published moderately regularly on the Arsenal History Society site, you’ll have read how from 1910 onwards having paid off the debts and taken over the club he started selling his shares to supporters.  This was not altruistic – he had invested a fortune in taking Arsenal from collapse to making it a profitable, viable club and he wanted some of his money back – but the net result was a club owned eventually by thousands of supporters.

Now it is owned by one man who can do what he likes, and what he likes is the status quo.  Arsenal making money and its value growing and growing, so that in the end at a time of his choosing, he will sell it to a country like Qatar, or another multi-billionaire.

My view therefore is that changing managers is more likely to result in a decline than a success, because the conditions will remain the same, and there is no limit to what clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City will do to grab power.

Of course there are chance events in all of this.  Leicester winning the league was an absolute fluke, in which a whole set of extraordinary and unlikely events came together at the same time.  Just as kicking the ball at the goal and having it hit the post ten times in a row is possible but unlikely, so was the Leicester scenario.   To rely on that happening again is to rely on chance: it is hardly a strategy.

I also believe, judging by the huge amount of data that we have gathered on refereeing (not least with the analysis of the first 160 games of last season) that there is no limit to which the all-powerful clubs will now go to secure their positions.

It is interesting that the main line of objection to the notion that there is something wrong with having a secret society running refereeing in the Premier League is a series of sarcastic messages that say “It’s never Wenger’s fault, it is always the refs”, rather than the engagement in the evidence presented.  The whole structure and organisation of refereeing in the Premier League is based on the system that led to the complete corruption of the Italian League.  While the rest of Europe has set up systems that stop such corruption, the PL has embraced the old model.  It is worth asking why.

There are 100 other points that can be made, and maybe 10 or 20 more campaigns that Untold has run to try and point these problems out.  I’m planning on writing up a page which lists all the issues – but that will take time – and a reliable broadband connection.

Which brings me to my answer to the question what can be done?

The answer for me, personally, is to expose, as best I can, the corruption and abuse of the processes that surround football.  Which is where the issue of the media comes in.  I do go on and on about the media, because for me it is a fundamental part of the problem, in that it both selects what is the news (and thus what is not) and then decides how to discuss it.  My view is that fake news originated with lazy journalism, and it has never managed to pull itself away from that.

So the consensus in the media is that Wenger is the problem and that replacing him is the solution, and that’s the story they tell.  And they tell that because the alternative vision is that the entire system is broken and corrupt – which they media won’t say because it would undermine their entire message of the past 50 years.  And no newspaper group is brave enough to step out of line and go it alone.

Of course you may feel this is all tripe, and that in reality the problem is Wenger.  Sack him, get in someone else, buy some decent players and all will be fine.

And you know, I really, really, really, hope you are right and I am totally wrong.  If you saw the incredibly generous and kind commentary that Blacksheep and Walter put on this site for my recent birthday you’ll know how old I am and how many years I’ve been going to watch Arsenal.  Of course I want them to be winning the league again.  And to win the Champions League for the first time.  I just don’t think (for the reasons outlined) that sacking the manager is the solution, and so in running this web site I’ve been trying to show the whole raft of issues that make up the real problem.

Perhaps my deepest sadness is my absolute failure to get more people to engage in the debate: to stop seeing football as a simplistic world in which “sack the manager” and “replace player x, he’s useless any idiot can see that” is a solution, and instead to appreciate the complexity of the situation we find ourselves in.

In a sense, for me, that is so obvious: if one visited here from another planet and saw that the World Cup was being held first at the home of sponsored drug taking in sport which wrote its application to host the competition on rented computers which it then gave back so any evidence of wrong doing is lost, and then is being held in a country with no football heritage, in temperatures of 40 degrees in stadia built using slave labour, one would be alternatively laughing and crying.

Take those situations and multiply them all the way through football, and that’s what you’ve got.  And if one does that and then thinks that Arsenal’s issues will be changed by sacking the manager…. Well, at that point, words fail me.

 

60 comments to What is wrong with Arsenal, what is wrong with football and how to put it all right

  • Sean Williams

    For me your article is false wisdom. Nearly, but not quite, as bad as fake news. Perhaps you feel or think you are reasonable. You are like Wenger stuck in the past. All the supporters, unhappy as they are, are nearer the pulse of reality than you. Is it OK that I have that opinion?

  • The only thing that is wrong with Arsenal is Arsene Wenger. The man is slowing becoming senile and people are not taking notice. He simply must leave. How can one man willfully and consistently break the hearts of millions of fans year in and year out.

  • Dom

    Well written and set out as always.I can only say ‘I second that’.

  • Stephan

    If Sanchez leaves after this bid by City, what will you think about about your beloved Wenger then?

  • Stewart Moseley

    Nice slant on football and Arsenal today and some of the points you raise have contributed to my waning interest in the game.
    Either way you look at it something has to change at Arsenal. Will we suddenly win the CL with Wenger gone? Probably not for some of the reasons you highlighted! But the club needs a lift, supporters are divided (maybe less so after Sunday?), and change could be the catalyst for some hope at least.
    Wenger has clearly lost the dressing room and the contract situation is a joke. He is clearly lost in the modern game. The buck stops with the guy who interviewed and approved the CEO – Wenger.
    We are not like other clubs, we don’t chop and change managers (well apart from poor old Bruce!), we give them a fair chance. Wenger has had some 20 years in charge. It’s not healthy to be there that long. Let’s have some fresh ideas and bring the club together.

  • Anthony Smith

    There’s a lot of sense written here, but dwelling on the past will remedy nothing. I,too, go back to the late 1950’s as a tifoso and have witnessed many ignominious defeats and awesome victories.
    The present ills were made pretty obvious in the Emirates Cup when Ramsey allowed Nzonzi to play, and their midfield passed the ball around us 5-aside style. Our back three looked as if it was an experiment that they hadn’t really practised – and that hasn’t changed.
    Surely, a manager of Arsene’s experience saw this? What is our master defender, Bould, doing about these problems? I can’t imagine Lehmann or Mertesaker being reluctant to speak their minds? What new coaching sessions have been introduced…? As for a change of manager, who,indeed, would improve matters is the question. I’d go for an active younger man and expect little success for the next season and a change of attitude and dare it be said, a change of culture, for 2018/19. I’ll still be in my seat – all being healthy…..

  • Dom

    Sean Williams
    Under the influence of a particularly tasty Cote du Rhone yesterday I set out boringly the reasons why I stopped watching and supporting Man U…even with their winning ways, to support the Gunners. I understand where you come from, truly, but I do think that if you arrive at a point where you feel that you are being let down by the club, the directors, the manager and the players and that you no longer believe that you can enjoy supporting Arsenal…give your support elsewhere and find happiness.

  • Despite,as always, Tony, a very well written and rational response to the question you were asked, I can’t buy it. Even if everything you’ve written in terms of context is true, I am certain a manger with a more pragmatic philosophy of football would render Arsenal a more competitive team. I look at Spurs who have less resources than us and I see a a Manager who is building a much better team than ours and he is doing this in exactly the same conditions as Arsene is. More difficult in fact with less resources. His team have challenged for the title across three seasons now and thus not a fluke. Spurs will probably start to lose their best players to Citeh or United etc but they have had a much more sensible approach based on understanding what a team needs in terms of player type and what kind of game to play if it wants to challenge for the League title. I agree getting eveything right is far from simple but having a good manager is s good start. Tony , I respect your views but I believe the time has come for Untold to acknowledge our Club has completely lost its way under Kreonke and Wenger. We need considered and calm voices like yours to help the call for change. Too much of it is shrill but please Tony, engage in the reality of what needs to be done.

  • Andrew

    There are several clubs owned by the rich that are doing very well. It is sheer nonsense to expect Wenger to remain as coach through his 70s and 80s if he is still alive and well. Thus, if you think the club will only survive if Arsene remains at the helm, you might be VERY wrong. If you truly love the club you will think of ways the club will remain competitive. The rot we see today did not start at the beginning of this season, some of us have advised a long time ago, but the inept Board knew better.
    Mourinho once labelled him ” a specialist in f******e”, but most of us rebelled. He went on to point out the level of comfort Wenger enjoys regardless of results, we rebelled. Today, we know better. Mourinho almost sounds like a prophet in football matters.
    We are busy selling our good players, while keeping the below average ones on our payroll, very good. This is happening when clubs around us are getting stronger.
    In my opinion, clubs that win leagues have a very decent midfield and defence, but ours is plastic.

    I am afraid for my beloved club.

    Meanwhile, I have advised my 10 year old son to look for another club to support, otherwise, he should be prepared to go through a life of heartaches, and become a laughing stock amongst his peers.

  • Arthur

    Thanks Tony for a great article. I really enjoyed reading it.

  • Andrew I totally agree
    If I did think that “the club will only survive if Arsene remains at the helm” I might well be very wrong.

    Glad we found something to agree on.

  • Luscious lisa

    I am a huge wenger fan and believe he would be successful if he moved to another (big) club. I don’t buy that he is passed his sell by date. On the other hand, as the man in black said, you’ve got to know when to walk away.
    The problem at Arsenal, as you say, is the owner.
    If I worked for someone that paid me £8m a year, I would not be inclined to rock the boat. Arsenal is a boat that definitely needs rocking.
    To expect AW to put “the club” before himself is ridiculous. Who does that? But what he could do, is deliver an ultimatum to the owner that if he wants to keep the goose that lays the golden egg, he need to do xyz. He has that power. But he chooses not to play that card, it seems.
    As a fan, Im hoping I’m wrong and we will do a Chelsea. But as a realist, I believe it’s in the best interest of the fans (as opposed to the the business that we call the club) that aw moves on. Aw moving on is not the answer, but it’s part of the solution to a complex problem. Better to light a candle than to sit cursing the dark.

  • yj

    The real traitors are the shareholders that sold their shares to Stan Kroenke. Instead of pumping money into the club like other owners do,he is taking money from it using StatDna. The problem is,StatDna hasn’t helped to unearth any exceptional talent, only fairly good and average ones.Wenger has already started selling some players StatDna recommended to Arsenal. E.g Gabriel and MustafI.Because these shareholders didn’t want to sell to Usmanov, they chose to sell to someone with a track record of mediocrity. Wouldnt it be better to not sell at all than to sell to an unambitious owner. I agree with Tony that sacking Wenger won’t fix the problem. If a bus is broken,changing the driver won’t fix it! The way football is going,it is turning to a toy for the billionaires and I fear Arsenal in the not distant future will become irrelevant in the scheme of things.Top four was a guarantee before,it is no longer a guarantee. Winning the epl or the champions league(the two most valuable trophies that attract top players and investors) is turning to a pipe dream as the years role by. It is a trying time to be an Arsenal fan, and a trying time for Arsene too.

  • Anthony, I can’t agree with you that “but dwelling on the past will remedy nothing”. All of the examples and evidence we have come from the past. Without that we might as well just toss a coin.

  • Josif

    As long as we have The Leach as the majority owner, we will have the same situation regardless of who is our manager. People who decided Kroenke was a good choice obviously lived (and still live) in The Cold War era where Americans are the good guys and Russians are the bad ones.

  • colario

    @ Sean Williams
    29/08/2017 at 10:16 am
    You ask if it is Ok to have the opinion you give in your post.

    Yes, of course, it is OK to have the opinion you have shared. As long as you don’t have any evidence to support the opinion you express here. Just as long as you believe you opinions are facts. This is ok for Donald Trump so why not you?

  • NuttnTiddy

    Not good at the moment that’s true. However getting a new owner could only cause more problems in that the man quoted as the richest person in Africa has said he will buy Arsenal once he has completed the deal that he is working on (not football)at present. If this happens I suspect that in spite of money flowing everywhere we will look back on the present time with respect.

    Can I suggest that Wilshire should come back into the team for the next match, he was outstanding in the 23 Game against Man City, hardly put a pass wrong and ran the game.

  • para

    After reflecting on AW and ARsenal, i really do not think that AW is to blame for the club policies. He does appear to “shoulder” the blame maybe that’s why he gets paid so much? After all that is what CEOs get paid for, to shoulder the blame.

    I’m starting to see that players are rebelling more and more, this is the only way i can explain a masterful possession one day and a so abject performance another.

    If the owner has tightened the purse strings and wants AW to use sales to buy players, it would appear that this looks a little like that.

    Maybe the passive (from AW) and active (from players) rebellion is what’s happening, along with those who are bailing ship without any apology.

    Whatever, i just dont know, and can only make my assumptions from what i see played out for the last 5-6 seasons.

    I cannot think that AW is that stoopid to let his team get in this position without being in agreement with it. After all, if Arsenal are playing well, then he’s surely not going to get masses to spend on new players, that i do believe.

    This man is far from stupid and i hope i am around to read his “book”. It is beginning to look more that he has decided to stand for the team and not abandon the ship,(what ever is thrust on him), after all he had many chances over the years.

    On the other hand, he could be just as scrupulous and is making his money till the end.

    Who knows for sure?

    //
    “I am not suggesting this was done cynically, but it happened”
    Well there has been much worse than this happen to increase incomes, take slavery for one example, so to kill a plane load of people is easy compared to that. (I have long had suspicions about it from time anyway).

  • jet

    Reports-Sanchez for Sterling is what Man city have offered, a deadbeat like Sterling!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Hmmm. There are big ongoing team and field result problems at Arsenal Football Club currently. Which I believe Le Prof will surmount all these challenges and overcome them all after the international break with first, get a resounding victory over AFC Bournemouth and an away win over the Blues at the Bridge all in the PL games. And we will all be queit until something goes wrong again then we’ll come come out from out quiet time to unleashed our venom on Le Prof allover again.

    Let us not forget Le Prof has tried for us before as he has thrice won the priced EPL title for us and one of the teams he has built over the years has gone unbeaten in the PL games which has become an envy for other six top PL clubs as none of them has been able to equal that Arsenal unbeaten season run in the PL despite their trying to do it.

    Nonetheless, Le Prof cannot totally absolved himself he’s not part of the problem at Arsenal. I think he is in the sense that he is the Gunners manager responsible for their field results. And also it has been alledged he’s the all powerful at the club second only to Stan Kroenke. Therefore, when things go wrong at the club, the Gunners and us the Gooners will look up to him to fix it.

    I strongly believe the big problem that has curtailed Arsenal from winning the PL title and the CL over the years is largely money. As Mr Attwood has pointed out, Stan Kroenke is a profit making oriented business man whose priority is to make as much as profit he can out of his investment at Arsenal and keeps maximising it. We can’t compare Arsenal with the worldwide franchise Man Utd or Man City owned billionaire Qatar owner nor with Abram Abramovich owned Chelsea FC who have been plumbing mega money into their clubs to facilitate their developments at various levels. Unlike Kroenke who has been stingy to Arsenal by refusing to pumb his personal money into the club save his periodic approval of some money for his club manger to do his incoming transfer windows business out the profits Arsenal have made or generated which we all know is grossly inadequate.

    What is the way forward if Arsenal FC is to be free from this Kroenke’s trap? Beg him to sell his shares at the club to Usmanov or Dangote who are likely to put in mega sum of money into the club for top players recruitment as they will show their passions to see Arsenal win the PL title again after a long spell in the cooler and also win the CL without further delays? Since we can’t force Kroenke to sell his shares at Arsenal, at least we can first beg him to sell. And if he refused to oblige us, then we’ll perfect another strategy that will compel him to sell. Shall we not?

  • Jammy J

    Rafa – The fact that you think winning 3 FA cups in 4 years is akin to having your heart-broken, then that says a lot more about yourself, than the state that Arsenal are currently in.

  • Norsgeneral

    Tony, read your article, took in your points, but unfortunately cannot agree. I think you are clutching at the straws of arguments you made last year to explain our sudden implosion in Feb/March. This feels different. This feels like senior players finally have had enough of the Wenger mantra. The performance on Sunday was so inept, so unprofessional, almost childlike, that I do suspect a new wind of discontent blowing. His time is surely finished. I understand your stance on trying to compete with Oil rich world wide organisations, who have hijacked football, but this crisis smacks of not only friction between players and manager, but manager and the buying/selling policy of the board. The whole edifice is starting rot. Surely the only way is not only a new manager but also a new owner. If we want to stay at or near the top we have to join them if you cannot beat them. Otherwise a club with three FA cups in four years, a record that would normally keep all the wolves from the door for years, will drop much further than any of us had ever imagined. Any further attempts by supporters of your ilk to bolster Wenger, will only result in total disarray at this club as the season unfolds, with the ultimate penalty to be paid in May. Please see the light.

  • Polo

    Well written Tony. Thank you.

    Just my opinion, been thinking about this a lot after following UA and reading different point of views over the years, and I came to a conclusion. To win the league you need top talents and there are two types 1. Established or 2. Developing.
    1. Establish talents cost a lot of money and with clubs who were once close to bankruptcy now has the riches to outbid wealthy clubs of the past, so managers such as AW find it difficult to obtain the top talents they seek to compete against clubs that can afford to buy those top talents to strengthen their squad, hence why in the PL the three biggest spenders are the one who won the league the most in the past decade or so, except a once in a generation Leicester. This is probably the easiest and most effective method as shown in nearly every top leagues.
    2. Developing talents, this is where I think Arsenal is heading towards hence why they are redeveloping the academies. The problem I see with this is that the expectation of Arsenal fans has gone to a higher level. In the past, Arsenal was floating between mid-table and top half so Arsenal fans expectation wasn’t as high, and managers could try out kids and see how they go, but now after AW setting higher standards such as playing style (Invincible), league positions (3 PL titles, 20 years in the top 4), and trophies (if you count FA Cup), that trying kids will be seen as not ambitious and money pinching. Let look at Spurs, some people comment that Spurs have overtaken Arsenal, maybe it’s true, but why? Spurs haven’t won anything since probably the invention of colour tv, so I think there isn’t any high expectations from Spurs fan of winning the League, they were probably happy if Spurs was in top 4. This low expectations allowed managers such as Poch to try young talents and see how they go, and it worked wonder, just like when AW came to Arsenal, where Arsenal fans had low expectations of him achieving anything, this allow AW to recruit and try young talents, and it worked wonders. I think AW should go back to what he does best that is to identify young talents and integrate them to the first team, play them in PL matches without fear. In addition, maybe Arsenal should see how Monaco recruits their young talents and if possible take their recruitment personnel 🙂

    What need to change at Arsenal? Definitely not the manager, I think we should allow more of our young talents to play in PL matches more often, by bringing them on say 80 minutes without fear of losing the match, this will give them the experience and development necessary for the future, and who knows the club could unearth top class talents, well they have to start somewhere. Plus it’s more fun watching ‘one of our own’ destroying the opponents. Just my opinion.

  • alexanderhenry

    Tony

    You are certainly an original. Some of your logic is extraordinary and it certainly goes against the grain. Summing points made on this article and the one you posted yesterday, you seem to think:

    1) Fans shouldn’t protest or complain when arsenal do badly.
    2) You never get angry at arsenal whatever happens
    3) When a team plays badly it’s not the manager’s fault
    4) Changing managers is bad
    5) There is a ‘secret society’ of referees who are all against arsenal
    6) The football press are biased against arsenal and write articles to deliberately disrupt the club
    7) Despite arsenal’s terrible form, baffling tactical set up and car crash of a transfer window the important thing is for us all to expose corruption in the press and amongst referees.

    Well, I disagree I’m afraid:

    1) Fans have every right to complain and protest especially if they pay arsenal’s very high ticket prices.
    2) I envy you, but 99% of football fans get angry rather a lot.
    3) It’s not always completely his fault, but most of the time, it is.
    4) That depends on whether he’s doing a good job.
    5) On referees, there was a period when I thought they allowed too many teams to kick us off the pitch. These days, there is a problem with their overall standard. They make too many mistakes and should be trained better. However, there is no anti arsenal conspiracy.
    6) The press do what they do. They publish a lot of gossip and opinion. It doesn’t bother me. I like transfer speculation. Also, journos are human beings, so they’re bound to have favourite teams. Again, there is no anti arsenal conspiracy.
    7) In case you haven’t noticed there’s something of a crisis going on at arsenal. Two things have been revealed.
    Firstly, wenger is past it- and i’m a wenger fan. He’s 68 and seems to have lost his judgement on players and tactics. He was a great manager, arsenal’s greatest post war, but his time is up.
    Secondly, we have an owner who is not suitable for arsenal football club. He is a negligent, greedy incompetent, disinterested leech and has allowed the club to diminish ever since he got involved. He must go .

  • Paul the gooner

    I now believe with all the corruption in football both on and off the field,we should get the Russian into buy the Club and be like Chelsea and City.What good has it done in the past, to be the nice guys in football.We are too nice.
    AW stays if he is given money to buy, walks at some point if we hardly buy anyone.
    Will the board trust him with 75 mill.?

  • kakoni

    i have ready Tony’s article and i must Tony you are a man full of football knowledge, but best of all good knowledge of the history of our beloved club arsenal.
    but let’s face it, if bus is broken you don’t change the driver but you fix…well stated. but what happens if the breakdown is as a result of the driver’s negligence. it ok to refer to the good old days and how things were,but it must also be accepted that change must come and best be prepared. for the last ten years, arsenal has had to sell it’s best players under the guise…”we are paying off the loan.” (understandable) the loan has been repaid, then there came the lame excuse; “our players are young” followed by other silly excuses like “the other team was physical” (in a game of push and shove) all by the same man that has at one point in time been labelled the master of transfers after signing Gilberto Silva. now we see a new excuse “the players are to highly priced” or “we don’t see anyone we can buy…we must get one exceptional player” arsenal fans have endured 14 seasons of excuses leveled by A.W in the meantime, every player targeted is either whisked right from under their noses, only to hear A.W claim “we almost signed him” the writing has always been there for all to read. “as long as the club is making profits, to hell with trophies…to hell with investing in credible players!” the fans were hoodwinked into believing, the fourth place was a pride worth position all because there’s chance to qualify for champions’ league…in the meantime, despite the minnow performances of the team, the club charges the most expensive tickets in the world, registers stadium capacity tendencies weekend in weekend out, been reduced to CL laughing stalk…to me this falls squarely on the manager; hence the need for him to step aside!

    arsenal needs a complete overhaul right from the ownership (Stan) to Frances Coqueline and Monreal who to me are the weakest link. But this can only be orchestrated by the fans…(which is a power they have never put to use) lest we another 8:2 goal drubbing or even worse.

    what happened at Liverpool wasn’t an overnight development, it has just been a longtime coming…maybe a much needed rude awakening. the players have for so long gotten away with under performance that it’s now a way of life.

    needless to say, arsenal must change the way things are done! Tony let arsenal use the past to better itself rather than stagnating in hoping and dreaming things will better without doing anything to better them.

  • Everyone knows our last game was horrible even arsene said so which was every media h’se and pundits dream.
    what worries me more are players like the ox not sticking together and jumping ship just like some fans who all have been manipulated by the media.

  • Kakoni, if it were up to me, I would do something. But I have no influence on these larger matters.

  • Same old approach – assigning to me all sorts of things I have not said and don’t believe, and then developing a piece from there. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

  • Polo

    There have been so many anti-Wenger comments after the lost but none that I have read list which manager they want to replace AW and explain why that person would do better than AW.

    Remember, this so called ‘clueless’ , ‘tactically inept’, ‘past his time’ man has just recently won the FA Cup against the best team in the League who wanted to win a double last season. The same man won The Community Shield this season, and if you think Chelsea didn’t want to win the Shield then look at the disappointment on their players faces after the lost. Top clubs like Chelsea want to win every tournament they are involved in.

  • JM Hedges

    I agree with most of what you say in you article but why call FIFA and UEFA “corrupt ” and the FA just “inept”? Corruption and bias has been going on in England for many years! In this respect you are doing Football a diservice by following the line of most of theUK Media, i.e.. the FA needs to be “reformed, modernised, etc” anything but calling a spade by its proper name!

  • Polo

    One is a manager of a football team while the other is not, so whose view would you take?

    https://www.sportinglife.com/football/news/gunners-an-'absolute-shambles'/101137

  • A substantial foundation, o was moved. I know what I know and will continue to know it

    I love this club and that love makese consider what it means to be a Gooner, some things a trophy are not worth.

    The reason I could tell you what will happen with sales is because I am right about the owner. But arrogance breeds complacency, what sells more papers is a big story.

    Alexis is no fool, neither a coward, he jusys wants a chance to fight, that is Wenger’s responsibility. In this case it is a first team, when you offload the debris and deluded players who cannot accept their mediocrity. L

    Judge your power by the number of your enemy, they are paying us respect with their efforts. They are genuinely scared.

    A club is an ehos as much as anything!

  • SA Gunner

    Tony, you tailor your article very well indeed. Its a pity you do not look at the actual performance on the pitch, on the day.

    Have a listen to Petr Cech’s post match interview on Sunday. It speaks volumes.

  • The_Ledge

    This current project is broke.

    Fixing it will take some time, and I suspect there will be a huge turnover of players and coaches over the next 18 months.

    Hopefully, there will be a turnover of owner as well, but that’s not likely to happen.

  • jjgsol

    Dwain, would you be so kind as to proof read your posts please.

    I think you have good things to say, even if i do not agree with some of them, but as I find the countless typos offputting, I simply do not read them any more.

  • jjgsol

    I am a long term fan, more than 50 years, but go to and have gone to few games.

    Perhaps it would be wrong for me to contradict those fans who go to many, if not every, match and spend a lot of their hard earned money in supporting the club.

    However, the knee jerk reaction each and every time we lose, disappoints me, insofar as so many posters seem to speak with such knowledge and expertise, that I suspect does not exist.

    None of us know any of the players at all, let alone as well as AW does.

    None of us knows what different factors may have existed on Sunday that led to normally good players to play as badly as they did.

    I have no doubt that AW knows some, if not all of them.

    Yes, he chose the team and dictated the tactics and both were found wanting. Does that not happen in every game when there is a winner and a loser?

    I suspect, but, of course, cannot know as a fact, that the transfer window and its effect on a number of crucial players did effect the whole team.

    No one, from AW to all the players is excusing it and all accept it was unacceptable, so one can expect a positive reaction next week, from manager and players.

    I feel no need to panic or point fingers or rant or rave. I am disappointed, expected better and expect to get better.

  • Proof reading can’t change what happens once I fimish post. This hacked phone. Denied what I can prove did old Amber on daily politics,;)

    Project broke, lol, its five/6 players from perfect balance and it’s broke.

    Typos exercise your mind. Meyer is fre next summer, pre contract in 6, I think Phils move Just got go ahead. Around £140m

    Nobody wants our.players Gibbs bidding war and Mustarfi, Bilic needs some marquee, Welbeck and Wallcott, WC year and point to prove.

    Would leave just Mo, he’s getting it done!

    IWIT

  • porter

    Would love to know what Oxchambo and Ramsey were discussing as Liverpool ran free and scored.

  • tobi

    Can people leave out the media already, someone watched a match in which is team was walloped 4:0, without any short on target, players getting sold, players not signing new contracts, team selection becoming alarming and you think the media is brain washing the fans. No body needs to be brainwashed, what exactly is the need of deceit from the media when we just lost a match 4:0 (and it could have been more), you can lie to yourself and all but make no mistake, this is not how this club should be run, everything is in disarray, from top to bottom. The sad thing is that it might get worse

  • tobi

    *his
    *shot

  • Flares

    A note to all of you:

    The current problem within ‘the team’ is Alexis Sanchez. I don’t care how many goals he scores, he is a liability. Think back to Barcelona. There’s a reason he wasn’t kept on. Flip the script and get some perspective – if Klopp, Guardiola or Mourinho had won 3 out of last 4 FA Cups they would be lauded from the rafters. United finished 6th last season, European adventure aside. Poor strength in depth. Chelsea currently hoovering up players surplus to requirements at their current clubs, and not all clubs are big clubs. Think about that for a second. Obvious desperation is obvious. Lemar prefers move to Arsenal, then United, then Liverpool, then…have I given you a clue? Madness, fear and loathing. Arsenal. Lies and the lying liars who tell them.

    Here’s what will happen if Wenger leaves tomorrow: PSG on the phone straight away. Careful what you wish for. Important people wear expensive hats – which hat suits you best?

    Aguero – injury prone.
    Welbeck – injury prone
    Wilshere – injury prone
    Aubemayang – problem child
    Draxler – disloyal
    Sanchez – disloyal
    Bale – injury prone
    Mahrez – disloyal
    Lemar – 5’7
    Benzema – weirdo
    Sterling – problem child
    Ronaldo – too expensive
    Renato Sanchez – confidence shot

    Etc, etc……

    I leave you with this: rumour has it Barcelona are looking into replacements for Luis Suarez. Stranger things have happened…

  • Gord

    Is it safe to come out yet?

    The last game coincided with me being able to get Mom home on “day pass” and start to work with her on the treadmill.

    Mom is getting better, the never ending Arsenal crisis doesn’t seem to be.

    I am hoping this coming week produces results that cause far less BS on Untold.

    And I suspect that 80-90% of that crap, is just people who want Arsenal to fail. Not fans.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    My boss arrived at work in a brand new Lamborgini .
    I said , ” Wow , that’s an amazing car !”
    He replied , ” If you work hard , put all your hours in , and strive for excellence, …. I’ll get another one next year !”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    So if I was to protest in the media and gripe on Twitter and FaceBook ; not work diligently , nor support the boss’ efforts , can I then deny that piece of shit another Lamborgini ?
    BEEB !
    WRONG !
    The boss will still be buying his umpteenth Lamborgini !

    And you? Well ,you will be probably still griping at the pub with like minded and unemployed souls .
    Or trying to explain to your kids and family why you are now all encamped on skid row !
    And its all Stan’s fault !

  • Josif

    @Flares

    “The current problem within ‘the team’ is Alexis Sanchez. I don’t care how many goals he scores, he is a liability. Think back to Barcelona.”

    Where is the evidence for this claim?

    A player who was involved in 40+ goals Arsenal scored last season in all competitions including the winner in the FA Cup semifinal and the opener in the FA Cup Final is hardly a reason we had conceded 44 goals in the league.

    Talking about his time at Barcelona… Why not mentioning the fact he won Copa America back-to-back while 1) winning the first Copa America by scoring the last penalty and 2) getting the award of the best player of the tournament (ahead “liabilities” such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Arturo Vidal etc)?

    Unfortunately, I have a feeling that some people – usually positive Arsenal fans – have found the scapegoat in Alexis Sánchez during the last season – and it could have been the reason why Alexis is reluctant to sign a new contract. Why staying at the club which supporters don’t appreciate his contribution?

    If you really want a scapegoat by using his result at his other clubs, then go no further than Stan The Leach Kroenke.

  • The single biggest problem with Arsenal right now IS Arsene Wenger.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Silent Stan is a good owner for us. I think the players are culpable for their performances on the pitch. Financial doping from nation states is anti-competitive. Maybe hair loss tablets are the secret pandemic hitting the squad.

    But… for all those other factors, Arsene Wenger remains the main problem. Why you ask?
    – He’s the one that played Bellerin as a left back against Liverpool
    – He’s the one that went years without signing a top notch striker (and I’m not convinced that Lacazette is that top notch striker either)
    – He’s the one that repeatedly played players until the broke
    – He’s the one that is predictable with his substitutions
    – He’s the one that cannot for love nor money get Ramsey to stay in position
    – He’s the one that played Bendtner as a winger
    – He’s the one that actually has a say in player contracts (why?!) and is responsible for the horrible situation where we have lots of first team regulars out of contract at the same time
    – He’s the one that actually has a say in player contracts and is responsible for the horrible situation where we have lots of squad players who never play who are on silly money forever and won’t leave
    – He’s the one that passed on Ronaldo and Ibrahimovich
    – He’s the one that signed Kim Kallstrom on loan with A BROKEN BACK
    – He’s the one that…

    I could go on for hours. Bottom line is that Wenger picks the team, with little-to-no thought, preparation or tactics going into it. We know this, because players have said as much. Being emailed a video to watch voluntarily?! Wenger also oversees player recruitment, which would be outside his remit at any modern club. He also oversees contracts, ditto. Wenger gets less out of his players than other coaches do, as evidenced by Ramsey’s performances for Wales; Campbell’s for Costa Rica; the upturn in the careers of players like Gnabry, Vela and Bentley after leaving; the downturn in the careers of players like Arshavin, Podolski, Ozil (moments of brilliance aren’t enough, we need a season of it), Chambers, Gabriel, Mustafi (noticing a trend with defenders here…). What will be really interesting to see is what happens to Oxlade-Chamberlain when he goes elsewhere – key part of Project Youth, but never really lived up to potential at Arsenal, and with nearly 200 games under his belt, he’s definitely had chances.

    All these things are on Wenger. Allowing a director of football to oversee recruitment and contracts would be a sensible move that would enable Wenger to focus on his core job of coaching the first team. Allowing fitness coaches to rest Cazorla BEFORE we break him would help the team over the course of a season. A new manager with different ideas and a different philosophy very often gets more out of players – it removes the sense of complacency that can develop. Just look what happened to Chelsea after Mourinho left, or Leicester after Ranieri left, or Manchester United after Van Gaal left or… you get my point. There’s a time when things stop working and need to be done differently. Arsenal have been at that time for a while. Change is your friend, not your enemy.

  • Tobi = Fool, in my humble opinion, on a day I found every single story on the main page was Wenger out, today we make up 50% of the entire page and dominate the main stories. We have 3 points less than many of our rivals and 4 less than a few and 6 less than a single team, after 2 games, not 38, madness.

    So apparently Ox rejected Chelsea for a Liverpool move, lol, he’s a silly boy, is he going to get himself in a lot of bother, staying now might be best for him and maybe the club, but my, my wont he have to buck his ideas up.

    Sanchez scored 35 and assisted 15 it’s all his fault, he left Barca because Pedro was prefered, why is beyond me, but Pep even kept leaving him out!

    BBC and C4 answer to .Gov minister, 5 American owned, and ITV had the same Exec as BBC and C4

    Flares = retardation, again only my humble opinion.

    Aguero – injury prone. Obvious
    Welbeck – injury prone Obvious
    Wilshere – injury prone Obvious
    Aubemayang – problem child I’ve never seen him not committed, maybe until the last season as he had to finally think about moving, him and Reus both!
    Draxler – disloyal After he asked to leave a season earlier, performed the next and was denied the agreed departure?!
    Sanchez – disloyal Since he’s handed in a transfer request and you know his mindset, right!?
    Bale – injury prone Potentially becoming evident
    Mahrez – disloyal A load of crap, he wanted to move after Leicester did the best they could ever do, reasonable.
    Lemar – 5’7 Sanchez is even shorter, low centre of Gravity has many perks
    Benzema – weirdo As best we know, but I do not think his character suits
    Sterling – problem child Since when, he got his head down once he acclimatised at City and has been one of their consistent performers
    Ronaldo – too expensive Why would we even think about signing the best player the world has seen, in his twilight?
    Renato Sanchez – confidence shot and he would be a great loan signing for us

    You are just talking for the sake of talking! What was your point, stating nonsense and obvious things.

    And seriously, WTF, I keep editing and proof reading posts, and some how it all ends up the same.

    Yes there are Trolls, add a club supported section, and publish it, that will stem some of the tide.

  • Menace

    Dwaine Kaye – loads of fake news. Cousin of Donald. 😉 😉 😉

  • Flares

    Josif,

    Why are you bringing the other South American players into the discussion? His tax affairs aside, Messi’s attitude and leadership are exemplary. I’ve also heard nothing about the others to suggest they cause discontent at their clubs. Sanchez however, is now burdened with increasing instances of his attitude and application being questioned on and off the pitch. The word ‘Diva’ is being used more frequently and, whether you believe or not, reports are now surfacing that the other players have had enough of him and want rid. No smoke without fire. If raw ability was the only requirement for greatness then Balotelli would have several Ballon D’Or on his mantelpiece already. Yet, it is not. Alexis isn’t bigger than this club and should be sold for the highest profit attainable. There will be other players to come who are better than him. We’ve had better already. He is just one man, but becoming more divisive with each passing day. I have appreciated his goals but it is now time for the post-Sanchez era to begin at once.

  • Flares

    Dwaine,

    Pedro was not ‘preferred’; the feeling was he would be the one to go, but there were no takers for his signature. Sanchez exhibited the same qualities at Barca as he does now, but there were bigger and better players ahead of him who understood the philosophy more completely. Put simply, he didn’t fit in.
    Dani Alves suggested in an interview that Sanchez would thrive in a team where he is the ‘protagonist’ – strange then, that as the Numero Uno guy at Arsenal this should not be enough, despite all his enthusiastic comments about the club, manager and players upon signing. Idle chatter, all of it. In fact, Alves concurred with my point above in his own comments: it is not simply enough to be a ‘beast of a player’ when your mindset doesn’t fit with where you are. Sanchez must move on, and quickly.

    You were not required to repeat the list of players and add your own analysis. It was a throwaway gesture in the manner of a word association test. A mere trifle. A stream of consciousness to illustrate at a glance how simple factors can influence the signing or not signing of players, or how they are perceived by fans and media alike. I would take Draxler in an instant, but that means nothing two or three years down the line. Aubemayang is sometimes akin to a little child who acts before he thinks. Like Joey Barton or El Hadj Diouf. Some players never quite settle, because they haven’t settled within themselves. Mahrez you can’t take seriously. United might sign him but he’ll be the last chicken in the shop by then. Certainly not the Golden Goose they were originally after. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

    Tick tock, tick tock…

  • Josif

    “Why are you bringing the other South American players into the discussion? His tax affairs aside, Messi’s attitude and leadership are exemplary. I’ve also heard nothing about the others to suggest they cause discontent at their clubs. Sanchez however, is now burdened with increasing instances of his attitude and application being questioned on and off the pitch. The word ‘Diva’ is being used more frequently and, whether you believe or not, reports are now surfacing that the other players have had enough of him and want rid. No smoke without fire. If raw ability was the only requirement for greatness then Balotelli would have several Ballon D’Or on his mantelpiece already. Yet, it is not. Alexis isn’t bigger than this club and should be sold for the highest profit attainable. There will be other players to come who are better than him. We’ve had better already. He is just one man, but becoming more divisive with each passing day. I have appreciated his goals but it is now time for the post-Sanchez era to begin at once.”

    Have you read my comment properly?

    “Why not mentioning the fact he won Copa America back-to-back while 1) winning the first Copa America by scoring the last penalty and 2) getting the award of the best player of the tournament (ahead “liabilities” such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Arturo Vidal etc)?”

    I clearly put quotation marks before and after the word liabilities when I was mentioning world-class players that had to watch Alexis picking his award for the best player of Copa America Centenario alongside the more important trophy – the one Chile won for the second time in a row. If Alexis was a liability, Chile wouldn’t have won CA and he would have never been given the award for the best player of the tournament. As simple as that.

    The thing is, you’ve been using narratives and reports that don’t come from the reliable sources (aside from Dani Alves). Comparing Alexis and Balotelli is hilarious. Alexis has always been a role model professional while Balotelli threw darts on the youth players at Manchester City. Ramsey said something else about Alexis a few days ago, just before the game against Liverpool.

    Also, I have noticed certain Arsenal fans have been participating in a witch-hunt with the Alexis name on target since the beginning of our problems on and off the pitch. I don’t want to believe that these attacks on Alexis are actually part of the well-organized PR scheme to convince Arsenal fans that Alexis is a problem and that he should be sold.

    Well, sorry, but

    “No pasarán!”

  • Top Guns

    What an embarrassing site this now is – how can people still defend the undefendable

  • ron de jonge

    very good piece Tony!!!
    I AGREE WITH YOU 100%

  • Flares

    Josif,

    You seem obsessed with the Copa America…why? Firstly, it’s a continental tournament that carries little weight outside it’s region, much like the African Cup of Nations, which many Premiership managers deem an inconvenience to their objectives within the wealthiest league in football. Yes, these tournaments get coverage on the BBC, but so what? I don’t watch them and neither do my mates. Secondly, the Argentine contingent have a gruesome reputation in the modern era for their failure on the international stage, particularly Lionel Messi, who in some quarters is laughably not considered to be one of the greatest of all time because he ‘hasn’t done it in the World Cup’…absurd, but there it is. You simply cannot make the comparison; Chile are on a hot streak because Argentina and Brazil can’t get it together like they used to. Simple as that. Regardless, I didn’t accuse Alexis of being a liability for Chile, rather I suggested he wasn’t a good fit for Arsenal football club, which an increasingly wide cross-section of the fanbase are beginning to agree with. I also didn’t compare the behaviour of Balotelli with Sanchez, but merely demonstrated that raw talent is nothing without the mental maturity to overcome the limitations of the ego and work towards something greater than oneself. Sanchez doesn’t throw darts at other players, but the factual accounts of his petulance and arrogant behaviour are proof of an attitude ill disposed to a continuation within this team or at this club. He’s upsetting people. Get over it. You’re in awe of him, other people aren’t. Get over it. Thierry was twice the player Sanchez is, Dennis probably triple. We survived. We won silverware. Get over it.

  • Josif

    @Flares

    We don’t have Dennis and most certainly don’t have Thierry these days.

    We have Alexis who is the closest thing to him. Maybe for less than 24 hours, maybe for less than a year.

    Like it or not, he has been our best player during his three years at the club. Also, most effective one.

    I don’t know if Stan The Leach or someone close to him give you, guys, ideas to make Alexis’ sale more acceptable among the fanbase. Hence all those articles and constructions that should have served the purpose since January. Like I said before, no pasarán!

    And, Copa America is as big as EURO is for European countries, maybe even bigger. Every South-American player wants to win it including the best player of all times Leo Messi. However, he couldn’t do it but our Alexis did it. Twice. Get over it.

  • Flares

    No, it isn’t. The Euro’s are bigger than Copa America because the majority of the worlds top players are European, not South American. We also have the Champions League, one of the most-watched sporting events in the entire world. You keep on comparing Sanchez to Messi because Alexis did well in a South American football tournament and I’ll keep referring you to Messi’s incredible trophy haul and Ballon D’Or wins. Chalk and cheese fella. Sanchez sold by tomorrow night and Arsenal might just save their season. Try not to blub too much if that happens, won’t you?

  • Josif

    @Flares

    Yes, it’s irrelevant…for Europa-centric duds. Messi thought it was so irrelevant that he actually had quit international football (before changing his mind a few months later).

    Like I said, there was an agenda against Alexis that turned out to be essentially anti-Arsenal agenda. If it wasn’t, Arsene would have launched Alexis’ bottom far, far away from Arsenal on the first day of the transfer window.

    Players come and go but the cannon on the crest remains. Whoever dons it will have my support. As an Arsenal supporter, however, I wish the best for my club – that includes the very best players as well. That’s why the whole anti-Alexis agenda was a shameful anti-Arsenal campaign. Sadly, many positive fans have fallen for that one as well. The Leach will get his satisfaction I guess.

  • Flares

    The anti-Arsenal brigade have been trying to unsettle the club from before Sanchez and Ozil arrived; it’s nothing new. We hear the same garbage every season. Sanchez is a wrongun, a brat who thinks it’s funny to post doctored pics with Pique on deadline day instead of being professional and sitting tight until it’s all over. I’m also not buying this rubbish about the performance dip of an ‘unhappy player’ – any player receiving 200k+ a week in wages should be busting his gut for his team, no excuses. If Arsenal shift Sanchez, the Ox, Perez and Debuchy by tonight that’s four players off the wage bill who aren’t giving their all for the club. We’ve already made the Lacazette money back and should come out in profit with a trimmed squad. Everyone is talking about how bad Arsenal’s window is but Chelsea are having an absolute nightmare, not that the majority of pundits are bothering to discuss it.

  • Nitram

    Flares

    I only watched SKY for 5 minutes and it was 5 minutes too long.

    Non stop slagging off of Wenger and the board.

    Cant be assed to go into it again but suffice to say it was the same old shit SKY have been serving up about us for as long as I can remember.

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