Welcome to the new world – the world in which Arsenal have recreated a team, devised a new free-flowing 4-3-3 system, and produced players of the highest quality who just a year ago were derided.
Welcome also to the new world in which Untold Arsenal is able to influence complete matches and give you the score in advance. Just to remind you (in case you missed any of the last 2547 articles here, on saturday morning I gave you Everton 1 Arsenal 7 and was nearly right.
Yesterday I gave you Celtic 0 Arsenal 4 – and what’s more told of our selfless activities in making sure the crowd noise could not be heard. If you watched on Sky last night, you’ll have heard crowd noise – and most of the time it was Arsenal.
I make my case, I do the work, I give you the score, I take my bow.
So it was Celtic 1 Arsenal 5 (shots on target) and Celtic 0 Arsenal 2 (on the mere detail of goals). The radio this morning says that we will be putting out some of the kiddiwinks in the return game, so instead of being forced to head balls in from the stand our Jack (whose surname I always spell wrong) will be able to score from the half way line.
Actually it was interesting to see how Sky follow ESPN in keeping sensible Arsenal comment out of the way of their programmes. Last night the “team” in the studio was an ex-tottenham manager, the son of the current tottenham manager, and an ex-man-iou players who was Celtic manager. Although I have to admit Strachan was worth listening too. Anyway, that’s balance (apparently).
But back to self-reverence, since it is now impossible for my head to get out of the room I might as well add that a year ago in Highbury High I wrote that the one player who would come through in the next 12 months to shine and shine again, would be Alex Song. I take another bow.
Genius or what? (Actually if you have had an irony by-pass this article is going to be a bit tough going).
And all this built on a transfer kitty of minus £40m.
Greg Adams, of the excellent GCR Books (see the permanent link on the right to his website) wrote to me recently with a reminder of the fact that Wenger’s transfer policy approach has long antecedents in our great and glorious history.
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Greg’s thoughts – which I give below – are based on the book “Forward Arsenal” by Bernard Joy – there’s details on that below as well – and I’ll be doing a full review shortly, because it is a vital book for anyone who wants to understand our history.
Here’s Greg’s thoughts on transfers…
“The Wenger approach to transfer spending is, in fact, not too far removed from that of former Arsenal Chairman Sir Henry Norris who, when appointing Leslie Knighton as manager in 1919, specified “no transfer fees over GBP1000” at a time when the average player commanded GBP3,000.
“Knighton was forced to look everywhere for able footballers who would cost only the GBP10 signing-on fee and had to rely on his many friends coming across suitable footballers, almost by chance, and passing on the information to him.
“Norris even tried to extend his limitations to the Football League and in 1922 and 1924 proposed a transfer limit of GBP1650. Both attempts found little support.
“Interestingly, given the recent article about the height of the current Arsenal squad, another of Norris’s ecicts was, ‘no more small players. Nobody under 5 feet 8 inches or 11 stone.’
“Shortly afterwards, Knighton heard of a tiny 5 foot winger Hugh “midget” Moffatt of Workington who was delighting crowds with his impudent trickery. Knighton was so captivated that he could not resist signing him and took him on the club’s tour to Sweden. He was very successful but Norris disapproved and Moffatt was soon transferred to Luton Town.
“The breach of Norris’s authority was the beginning of the end for Knighton and after six unsuccessful seasons in charge, Norris dismissed him and advertised for a new manager. However, despite the lack of success, he stuck to his principles and stipulated, ‘Anyone who considers paying exorbitant transfer fees need not apply.’
“The new manager, as we know, was Herbert Chapman who was going to conduct a spending spree unprecedented in football up to then and one that was to earn Arsenal the “Bank of England Club” tag.
“Whilst Arsenal’s success in the 1930’s only came about after Chapman’s spending spree (the GBP11,500 paid in 1928 for David Jack was a record and GBP5,000 more than the previous highest transfer) it is clearly not impossible to build a successful team using more prudent methods. Arsene Wenger has done it once and, I believe, is close to doing the same again. Hopefully common sense in the transfer market will prevail over deep pockets and we’ll see some silverware in the trophy cabinet come May.”
As I mentioned above details for this article on Arsenal’s history were taken from the recently republished edition of Forward Arsenal by Bernard Joy which is now available through GCR Books (www.gcrbooks.co.uk) at a price of GBP12.95.
I don’t have all the prices in front of me but if anyone would care to write in with the individual transfer fee of each of the players on display last night, that would be very welcome.
This is, I believe, the moment, when the previous transfer position of clubs will unravel before our eyes. We don’t know which way West Iceland will fall, and we can see the pain at Liverpool on a daily basis – the bankers have demanded their annual repayment of the debt and the club simply don’t have the money to spend (exactly as predicted here 18 months ago, I take another bow).
Will somebody shut that bloody dog up?
(Bow / bow wow – its a play on words. Oh never mind).
(c) Tony Attwood 2009 – read it again on Team Talk.