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Victory through harmony: the practical strategy

By Nahn Lee

Well said, Terence

Victory through harmony is now not only a matter of renewing belief for supporters. It’s a practical strategy to strengthen the club, as originally intended.

I feel that “internal battles” between sections of the club are merely a convenient media method of dramatizing things – to make people believe that things are brewing you have to have the dark side fighting against the bright side. The Wenger quote on Real project over the last week was nothing but an ambush. I don’t know what’s going on in Arsene’s mind but with all the stresses visible on his face, you can come up with thousands kinds of speculations about which or what. But really, what’s the fuzz?

Fact of the matter is, we know too little to be nervous or reacting in a presumptuous manner. This is precisely what the media intend to happen: creating a movement out of precious nothing and let that movement itself become news (as people will quickly forget what the whole fuzz is about in the first place).

After reading the summary of Arsene’s interview with the board (link to which posted in this website) I have to say that most signs of emotional reaction there were extrapolated by the writer and that there was no concrete evidence of political tension at all. The board has a right to be critical. In fact it’s their job to be critical in a contributing way. Their questions did not seem to surpass that limit (Kevin Witcher, of the few people named, was highly courteous relative to what he usually writes in his blog). Most of all, Arsene is way too intelligent not to take these criticism personally.

So if there’s a thing to do now as supporters, it’s to show our unified support in the last game of the season. When there’s nothing to fight for – as this game is to be labeled –  is when true characters are revealed. The team have done their part in the United game by playing delightful football – in quality and in attitude – and showing no loss of desire to win.

This weekend the boo-boys won’t show up because they won’t have anything to hold on to or to protest about. There are no better times to cheer up our team because there won’t be any disruption or hesitation. There are no better times our passion and commitment are more vital to the club than now.

Nhan Le
Dept. of Economics, Indiana University – Bloomington
Bloomington, IN 47405
USA

This article is contributed by one of our regular correspondents.  If you would like to contribute an article please do send it to Tony at Hamilton-house.com – but please do note that the essence of this site is pro-Wenger.

21 comments to Victory through harmony: the practical strategy

  • Terence McGovern

    Nice Article Nhan!

    As usual, there was a second part of the quote from Arsene Wenger (where he reaffirms his committment to Arsenal)when asked the Madrid question, which was deliberately left out so as to drum up the usual populist negativity that has become rife within certain sectore of our supporters.
    Unfortunately, alot of them are that dim that they believe everything negative that they read about the club.

  • parsi

    Why would anyone want to be manager of Real Madrid? If we take away the salary that is.

    Seriously, Real Madrid have had three managers since 1974 who had been for three seasons (three seasons, or 2 1/2. Del Bosque was there for about four seasons. Since they mostly lasted only one season, and it don’t matter how much you win. If you don’t win EVERYTHING, you are no way close to safe in your job.

    The presidents also builds the team, not the manager. I don’t believe for a SECOND that Wenger goes there.

  • James Le Beak

    Terrence and the other deluded people on here I must admire your undying and blinkered views but just to take you up one of yor points:-

    Richard Wright
    Francis Jeffers
    Igors Stephanovs
    Pascal Cygan

    were not great!

  • Flint McCullough

    Nice thoughtful article Nhan with much to agree with.

    “This weekend the boo-boys won’t show up”

    They may not turn up to boo but will they stay to cheer AW & the lads for the end of season lap of honour?

    I had the pleasure of going to MK Dons v Scunthorpe the other night. Basically kick & run for 30 minutes, then both sides got down to playing decent football. The difference in quality in comparison to what I am used to was obvious but overall it was an excellent game of football. 14k, in the ground (roughly 1/2 full) but what an atmosphere. A new club with load vocal support from start to the end of the penalties & beyond. Despite their disappointment at twice failing to take advantage in the shoot out & eventual defeat, the crowd roared “we will be champions next year”, without a hint of any scapegoats.

    Then back to more bile from our anti-support. My guess is the ground will be less than 1/2 full for our lap of honour. This young squad deserves much much better.

    By the way the comment from someone “the disaster that was Rioch”, is not something that I can associate with. Bruce actually did a very creditable job & deserves praise for what he did. He was not the visionary that AW is but that should not be held against him – hardly any are !!

  • gun5

    When you consider the fact that RVP and Eduardo spent such a large part of this season injured, you can not afford to let Bendtner and Vela (not yet at least) be our third and fourth choice strikers. When you look at united this season you see players like Tevez being sidelined for much of the season due to the fact that he is not good enough to break into their first team. to compare Bendtner to Tevez would just be silly. Bendtner is simply not good enough to play for large parts of our season with Eduardo still feeling the reparations of his multiple injuries. We need something more from the striking end.

    But for what cost?

    With the reported £13 million along with a £25 million bid for Ade (assuming it is the same as last season), that’s less than a £40 million budget to buy…

    one/ two experienced and solid centre back/s
    one experienced and big midfielder to support Cesc
    one experienced and clinical finisher to bring us goals

    If these financial reports are correct then personally I think that we should just keep with the youth system and hope that we are lucky with injuries. And that the development of players like Vela, Ramsey and Wilshire goes according to plan, and hope that the team will finally be unified and everyone will see how incredible Wenger really is.

    If these financial reports are not correct then I think that there is actually some sense in spending big money on a few reinforcements that will stabilise the team without completely changing it and all that Wenger has worked towards.

    Part of the frustration is that the potential for our team is so high, and on a good day we can play the best football in the world. But it is a fine line between when the promise of potential and future is limiting the current season and when it will simply means that next season we will be unstoppable.

    Personally I will give it one more season before even beginning to think about Wenger’s future at the club.

    For any other club spending such a little amount of money and reaching semi finals in Europe and the FA would be phenomenal. and if you think that we did all this on a “bad” season think what we could do in a good one!

  • James Le Beak

    Absolute madness from you lot.
    Blind faith in anything only makes you a fool. Do you watch football as blindly as you say? Maybe if the club just publishes all of the results at the end of the season you can read them and be content that we won the quadruple

    Surely you realise love for the club manifests itself in a multitude of ways? Sure, you love the club and I’m not going to contest that, no one on here will. But who the fuck are you to suggest that you are a true fan ahead of anyone else? Could a genuine concern for the club’s fall from grace not suggest an equal love for the club? And are those of us who see the likes of Adebayor run out every week and feel daggers to the heart somehow lesser fans? Or is our emotional distress, suffered alongside the club, somehow irrelevant because we fail to accept shortcomings as the absolute best possible?

  • Mikel

    How dare we complain, we ONLY pay a minimum of a grand to watch this Arsenal team.We dont know how lucky we our.We should be paying 5 grand a season,no 10 grand
    Wenger should be carried around the pitch on sunday like a conquering hero
    Adebayors name should ring around the stadium
    Arsenal fans should go around with smiles on there faces
    What have we got to be upset about?

  • amar

    As a red member who has sat in every part of the ground ( directors box & away part excepted!) I have found that it is not NEGATIVITY the problem, but moreso APATHY. There are exceptions obviously, but I have found that the most vocally critical are also the most constuctive,& ALWAYS the most vocally APPRECIATIVE too- this is an ” atmosphere” isn’t it? I know certain parts of the ground bring in vast amounts of money, but ( in a satisfying kind of way) my rule of thumb is to get the cheapest seats going, &, if possible, close to the away fans. This is not cos’ I am a cheapskate- it is HONESTLY the best part of the ground for atmosphere- along with the Red Action section obviously. This will sound strange, but I can often relate more & respect the away fans more than for example some of OUR club level ones in terms of what they contribute to MY Personal matchday experience.
    I am not naive enough to realise the revenue needs to be maximised at a club like ours, but in the long run I worry that our Arsenal is losing it’s vital core supporters week in week out, & the stadium structure now worryingly reminds me of the housing market.
    If it was not for work which makes it increasingly difficult to attend Saturday games- 1245 ko’s are a defo no-no, I would happily trade home games for away games because I feel I get more out of it on a personal level- quality over quantity if you like.
    This may not be an Arsenal specific problem from what I can gather, but I would like to on a positive note say a big THANK YOU to the travelling fans for their MAGNIFICENT support again this season( as in all seasons previously) and respect to those AWAY fans at Ashburton too for helping to create an atmosphere.
    Lets get behind the boys v Stoke & show them what the Stoke fans show their team at their place- & I mean the WHOLE ground PLEASE

  • Flint McCullough

    Maybe “blind faith” means having the ability to see beyond the end of one’s nose!!

  • chris

    whether you want Wenger to stay or go show your appreciation. The way some shareholders spoke to him was disgusting, fair enough you’re not happy but carry yourself with dignity and come across in a more adult fashion. I’m not happy with 4th and no trophies but why do we not question the board? We are a bunch of spoilt brats really because I know your past is your past but this guys has given us CL every season bar his first, if we had not had that do you think we’d been able to keep Henry, Vieira, Pires and Bergkamps for so long I think not because other clubs would have been circling and we would not have had the cash that has generated. Look at the facts the guy has come in we now have a state of the art training ground, state of the art stadium, he has chnage the way players prepare got the best out of the majority of the players he has signed, not to mention trophies. Again I am just pointing out the facts, I totally believe Wenger is borrowed time as he has been lacking but when guys on here and at the shareholders meeting carry on like he is senile it’s stupid. Instead of sitting in your seats like toffs(the minority) why not ask questions of the board as they share this blame.

  • James Le Beak

    What a load of pompous nonsense from Hill-Wood. He rails at AFC shareholders who had the temerity to question Le Once-Great Man, as if Wenger was somehow beyond criticism. You know things are shaky when the Eton toff – and Wenger – both attack the fans. Why shouldn’t we have our say? Many of us are fed up with hanging on to the coat-tails of our former rivals. We don’t believe there is only £13mil to spend (a fact confirmed by Hil-Wood today, media watchers) and many of us don’t believe that Wenger is a man willing to spend money in order to guide us back to greatness. As one shareholder pointed out, the squad he has assembled are a bunch of lightweight bottlers who aren’t up for the fight. That was cruelly but predictably exposed in the games that mattered this season, when we failed to turn up. On another point, those who feel sorry for poor, mistreated Ade should remember his airport taunt at a fan who questioned his commitment. It was the equivalent of Loadsamoney, the Harry Enfield wave-yer-wad character. There is a stench running right through our club, from the boardroom down, encompassing a lame duck manager and many of the lily-livered players he has brought in. Where has the passion, the steel and the “run through brick walls” commitment gone? Half the time we play like fairies who couldn’t care less about actually scoring goals, as long as we pass the ball around ad infinitum. It must be obvious to the most biased Arsene-licker that things have been allowed to slide for too long. Many of our fans have become as complacent as Wenger and Hill-Wood; they live off dusty memories or dreams of a golden future. The here ‘n’ now? Forget it, that’s just too awkward to defend. They tell us there’s always someone worse off, that Arsene still knows, that all we need is one or two signings, that anyone calling for change is a disgrace. But change is long overdue.

  • The Arsenal motto: Victoria concordia crescit—>Victory through harmony

    The D&G motto: fatum infitialis crescit—->Doom through negativity

  • Terence McGovern

    Come on now James! don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel!

    James did youever consider the possiblity that you have your relationship with Arsenal backwards. That they are not there to support you in your vision of things and give you bragging rights to your friends(assuming you have any).
    Did you consider that supporting a football club give you the right to exactly that. Supporting them. This must be hard for you because you are sombody who needs to take from the experience, not add to it.

    You can buy match tickets, replica shirts, fly all over Europe to watch them but it still doesn’t give you ANY right to dictate how they are run. Only the people who own the club have that and I don’t mean those who have a half dozen shares for the novelty. Your opinion James like mine is absolutely meaningless because we have no say and never will.

    The difference is that whilst that fact burns you and makes you miserable, I will be having a great time supporting the Team that I love come hell or high water.

    That is not delusion but rather pragmatism.

    As for name players who didn’t prosper at our club after being bought by Arsene Wenger, that would be 4 out of about 120-130. Not bad!

    It is the same in every club. I would remind you of Massimo Taibi and Juan Sebastian Veron. You should probably support the club that they failed at. It would bring you plenty of shallow quick fix success bragging opportunities, at least until they go into administration.

  • James Le Beak

    There is a saying, You get what you pay for. At Arsenal this is just not the case. We are one of the most exspensive clubs in the country to go and watch but get mid table performances. Ok people should’nt be so rude to Mr Wenger like as been reported, but he shouldnt be so stubben. How long is it now that people have been saying he needs a defender, a midfielder and a forward that can score goals?. I used to go to every match Arsenal played up until about 5 years ago, i could’nt afford to go now and if i could i would’nt. Arsenal are the only team that can have the ball in the opponents half by the corner flag and it still ends up back at our goalie and this with the other team not touching it. I manage a football side my self and i no how hard it is but i dont get paid thousands for doing it like the full time managers do.Its great to have so many excellent kids coming through the ranks but over the last few seasons we have become a selling club and it will be the same this summer, mark my words on it. We sell a top player but only bring in a youngster its plain to see we are going to fall behind the other so called top teams. Ok we had a fantastic run without defeat but look at the teams that beat us, a few seasons ago that would never of happened.When we have got our full strength side out we are the best and no one can argue with that, but as soon as a couple of players go out injured we’ve had it. Ww haven’nt made any progress in the last 4 years and the way it is we wont. Times change and the only way Arsenal are going to win things is for them to change their ways. The main problem now adays is that money as ruined the game, years back players would only join a team they wanted to play for now adays its who pay the most wages so their isnt any love for the club just a great big pay packet

  • Terence McGovern

    It should be pointed out that whilst we have the most expensive season tickets, the club sell those tickets at far below the market price.
    We have 47,000 on the waiting list for season tickets so even if they were to double in price, not only would they sell out but there would still be a waiting list albeit considerably smaller.

    The reason that the club does not increase their prices to markey levels which no doubt would put us in a greater position to spend more heavily on the squad, is that this would effectively rule out the participation of the majority of our long-term support.

    Being quite honest, if I were still living in london, I would have no issue whatsoever paying £4,000 for a season ticket. The problem that I have is that, these days it would cost me over £6,000 just to get to the games.
    I tend to draw the line at that point.

  • Nhan Le

    James,

    “hanging on to the coat-tails of our former rivals”

    I have to say there is some truth in this you said, though may not be exactly what you meant. I think Arsenal’s strategy includes a clever calculation that we can actually benefit from the spendings of other big clubs. That is, the money pouring into Chelski/Man C/Liver raises overall football quality and publicity of the EPL, which increases revenue and publicity for everyone. Remember how grateful Cardiff was, managing to bring the FA tie back to Emirates? Yes, our stadium earned them that extra million.

    I’m not exactly sure how TV money is divided among the EPL teams but I suspect if we got too much less than Liverpool did (the Economist reported recently that domestic TV right alone brings in £1.8 billion total for the next 3 season, a 5% rise in a slumping economy). Ditto about Champions league, the vast chunk of CL money comes from simply getting in (by not playing the CL final, we’ll earn a couple million less than United). At the same time, our stadium houses 60K, compared with Chelsea and Liverpool’s do in the 40K’s. There is also value in publicity ranking, which I have no clue about but wouldn’t be surprise if this is where MU is significantly different from the rest of the big four.

    In some perspective, we “hang on to the coat-tails” of other clubs by spending just enough to stay on the margin (as we literally do this season). If you look at the football with a grain of salt, our technical quality is the same level with or even better than Liverpool’s and only marginally less than MU and Chelsea – of course, at the top level marginal difference is THE difference). I said this before, the key is that if you manage to stay on the margin on a consistent basis, pots and pans are a matter of time.

    I understand if many people interpret this strategy as stingy and “unambitious” and probably even mercenary. In my view this is not just great business, it’s the result of hard-work put together by brilliant people in an extremely robust organization. It’s telling that we’ve got the best training facilities and staff around the world and that our wage bill is up there with every other team. Everton and Vila both try to imitate our model and they can testify that unless you have “magic” money, it takes big commitment to be big. Let me rephrase what Tony said earlier in this blog: in the real world, it’s all about consistency.

    Yes my club is in the business of collecting my money (and wasting lots of my time) – I say it shamelessly. They probably do so at the cost of winning a few pots and pans fewer than I want them to. But they give me more than what I could ask for (blind faith is one of which, I guess) and they have show that they can fight to defend their principles, which I value. They satisfy me.

    At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself whether your expectations are met. If not, change your expectations. Or simply find another possibility. I like to tell my friends that this Arsenal thing is ordained upon me by a higher power – it’s inexplicable. That’s not true. I chose them.

  • Nhan Le

    Terence,
    Successful clubs in most sports ignore the lines and sell tickets under market values. The difference is to compensate for the “rent” created by enthusiastic fans – people who can wait overnight in the rain for a ticket will make the stadium look festive and are less likely to boo their own team. That we have boo-boys probably means tickets are still a little bit high.

    Check this out:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/01/business/economic-scene-seven-lessons-about-super-bowl-ticket-prices.html?scp=4&sq=why%20football%20teams%20low%20ticket%20prices%20economics&st=cse

  • stuartlondon

    Two questions for the critics and doubters:
    1: If you want Arsenal to be just like Man United or Chelsea, why not simply support one or other of these teams?
    2: If you want our team to perform better next season, what positive actions are you personally prepared to take to help achieve this?

  • Terence McGovern

    Oh by the way, here is an interesting fact for all of you who are looking forward to some summer signings.

    As you know, we now have a new head-hunted Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidas and what most of you will not know is that he probably has more experience with International transfers within football than any other prson on the planet.

    How you may ask?

    As it turns out Ivan in his time with MLS in America as deputy commissioner, signed every single new player to the league over 6 years! In MLS the players sign for the league and are then distributed to the clubs. In the case of International transfers they are usually signed to order so to speak but they first have to sign with the league.

    Imagine the number of signings Ivan Gazidas has signed in his career! 6 years worth of international transfers for an entire league!

    We should expect big things from him and remember folks that transfers are now his baby. Arsene Wenger will decide who is to go and who he would like to have but IVAN takes it from there.

    I could prove to be an interesting summer yet.
    Cheers for that link Nhan.

  • Jonny Neale

    James I have to wonder why you keep coming back here? If you disagree with us for our short-sighted opinions about the manager of the club we ALL love – FINE. I think we get that by now!

    Your time would perhaps be better spent in the company of like-minded bloggers – there is no shortage of them? Or on Spurs blogs antagonising them – SURELY they deserve your vitriol more than us???

    I’m all for constructive criticism but this constant negative carping is just plain tedious.

    Why you think that very narrowly failing to compete with teams who have budgets way beyond ours is such a harrowing thing I have no idea. Things are alright – honestly. If we do win stuff next season or the one after will you still be moaning about Wenger’s trophyless 4 years or will you even be able to move on and enjoy it???

    I feel sorry for you, as one thing is certain, myself, Terence, Conbsolbob, Nhan and the other regulars who come to Tony’s site seem an AWFUL lot happier than you!

    Judging by your astounding levels of whining despair and fury anyone would have thought you support the Newcastle Zebras!