The difference between what is said and what is meant

By Walter Broeckx

Here we go again. What is the matter with some part of our fans? Do they have no brains? Or are they just like me from other parts of the world where English is not their mother language and so they misunderstand things?

But even I as a non-English speaker can grab what Wenger has said about Vermaelen or better said can understand what he meant to say.  So let us go back in time and take a look at what has been said since January. Or let us start with earlier on, when the Belgium national team said that he could play with the pain on his Achilles and that it wouldn’t have any negative effect for the future. I think the doctor of the Belgium national team is a Manchester United fan. The nickname of the Belgium national team is… red devils. Let them rot in hell I would say.

So after months of misery with no one finding the real problem it was half January that a doctor finally came up with the answer. I wrote a little article about that on 16 January. And at that time the prognosis from the doctors was that Vermaelen would be back in training 4 weeks after the little medical procedure. So everyone expected Vermaelen to be fit at the start of March. The doctors, the physiotherapist, they all said it would be a matter of weeks before Vermaelen would be fit.

And so this was communicated to the world. So anyone with one working brain cell in his head knew that also Wenger at that time believed that Vermaelen would be back somewhere at the start of March. Wenger is not a doctor, just as I am not a doctor so when doctors tell you that a player is back in a few weeks who is Wenger to doubt those doctors? When I went to the doctor on Monday because I had twisted my ankle and he told me to rest for a week and told me to do no game this weekend and then I would be fine. Who am I to doubt these words? After all he has studied for those things and I haven’t.

So us, non doctors, believe the doctors when they tell us what will happen. So did and does Wenger.

When I spoke with the parents of Vermaelen just 14 days ago they still had hopes and they said that Thomas also was still hoping to be back at the end of this month. And they also said that his Achilles looked okay by now but that he had several other problems. Muscular problems and some small things that held him back and prevented him coming back.

But still there was hope that he would come back at the end of this month. This was just 14 days ago.

So I guess this hope has been put to bed this week. I think that the doctors and the physiotherapist have let Vermaelen and Wenger know that it would be impossible in the current situation to get back to full fitness this season.

When Wenger told this at the press conference he did what many foreigners do when they speak English. He said something in a way that people could misunderstood his words. Believe me it happens all the time to us non English native speakers. You use the wrong conjugation, you put things in the past/present/future and you end up with something different than you would have said it in your own mother language.

Because for weeks since January Wenger has expressed on a few occasions the hope that Vermaelen would be back soon. And now that this isn’t the case he has used the word “never”. Causing for the fans who are after Wenger his head anyway for a round of abuse.

But all those fans who love Arsenal that much (or proclaim they do anyway) must have been reading all the things Wenger has said in the last months? And in all those reports Wenger always said that they were hoping for Vermaelen to be fit soon.

So has Wenger been lying all that time to us? Was it just Wenger who was stubborn and didn’t want to spend the money on a new centre back? For those who want Wenger out, well they will take any stick out there to hit him.

But let us for a moment take this bullshit as the truth. Let us suppose that Wenger is that evil devil some paint him. Let us suppose that Wenger has lied to us all that time.

Then why would he have done this? To make sure we win nothing? Why would he do this? Just look at his face when we lose? Do you see any joy on his face? You can see a thousand emotions on his face but I have never seen him happy when we lose. NEVER! So we can skip this possibility I think.

And if Wenger lied then it would mean that other people also had to lie. Vermaelen would have to lie. The doctors would have to lie. Do you really think that all these persons are in the complot to cover up the fact that Arsenal knew from the start of September that Vermaelen would not play again this season? Do you really believe this? No one would have a slip of the tongue all these months? Come on let us be serious.

And most of all the reason why I really believe that no one knew this is that when we met the parents of Vermaelen when I came to the Emirates they really hoped he would be back real soon. If they would have known it all those months then they could have told us. But no, they had hopes that he would be back. We all had hopes he would be back soon. Thomas himself, his parents, Wenger, the doctors, the physiotherapists, the fans and I. Why would the parents of Vermaelen lie to me?

Only now we and Wenger know it isn’t going to be for Vermaelen. So it is a big blow for Arsenal that is for sure. But the way some of the supporters behave shows that they have another agenda and all they want is to get rid of Wenger and they will take anything to put him in bad daylight.

PS: If anything in this article is understood in a different way than I meant it to be just remember that my mother language is not English. Just as it is the case with Arsène Wenger.

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113 Replies to “The difference between what is said and what is meant”

  1. To be honest this is being made an issue out of nothing. I watched that press conference and I think Wenger was asked if he’s suprised at Vermaelen being ruled out. All Wenger said is that it didn’t come as a shock and that he’s been out for 6 months now without playing so it would have been a struggle to bring him back anyway.. I didn’t even pay that much attention to it, and if there are any inaccuracies then I apologise. But that is the gist of the interview as I understood it and as I recall.

  2. why do honest people like wenger have to explain everything so many times, while those thugs on tv(also called pundits) can predict absurd and have no responsibilty? They can say that arsenal will go out of top 4, but if arsenal comes second they will say arsenal no good.. Same old problems, no plan b etc..

  3. Some people just trying to find a reason to blame him,his statement has been twisted to suit their agenda and get more fans mad at him and it is typical that it coincides with price rises.

    I also think it the lack of confidence a lot of fans have with JD’s replacement and Alminium. Kos, squallici and aluminium dont exactly fill me with confidence.

    I think the medical issues need to be addressed it is costing us millions because arsenal still have to pay their wages, and the loss of points and going out of competitions due to injury could be considered an enormous cost. detailed analysis need to be done every players anatomy like milan do. If we spent £30 million on getting the best medical team it would be worth every penny, as I mentioned before independent investigations need to be done by arsenal because the injury record is ALARMING, every factor needs to be taken into account,I would like to here Rhys opinions on this

  4. First hope your ankle is better now Walter.
    It’s not first time Wenger says something in press conference and then there is lot of stories about something he said but completely out of context (like whole Scholes thing). And also some fans just love to blame Wenger and some players but hardly ever give them credit when they deserve it. Hopefully Thomas will be fine next year, when if we can keep whole squad together and fit we can win more than 1 trophy (unless referees stole them).

    About Belgian national team, everytime I hear it I get this image in my head about Belgian player being chased by Eagle Owl and their goalkeeper leaving goal due same bird. What a memory….

  5. What Arsenal fans get annoyed about Walter Broeckx is, over the years, Arsenal players playing who are not fit, just as much as Arsenal players nearly being fit but not being fit.

    Here are a few which fans were mystified about:

    1. Thierry Henry’s final game for Arsenal: he was completely unfit, Arsenal were knocked out of the ECL and he never played again the rest of the season. Most fans thought that it was known he was going to Barcelona. So why did he play? You tell me…..
    2. Gallas being ‘injured with the last kick of a training session’ then miraculously being out for 6 months. Many at the time found it curious…….
    3. Walcott being injured walking back from the pitch to the training centre. Many people could see that this could easily be fictitious………
    4. Walcott being out for far longer than intended after an England game, when both he and Capello expected it to be far shorter times.
    5. van Persie miraculously injuring himself against Man Utd in January 2007 just jumping up in the air scoring.
    6. Rosicky nearly being back for quite a long time. There were unsavoury rumours going around Club Level about that, which I won’t print. But they were unsavoury……..

    Quite a lot more.

    The conspiracy theory goes like this: an alternative way to match fixing than the crude ‘get the captains together at half time and agree a draw’ or nobbling the referees, both of which we know go on, is inventing fictitious injuries so that the squad available to a manager is weaker. This means that matches can be played 100% by both sides but the likelihood of a particular result is biased as a result.

    Another conspiracy theory which did the rounds was that the players who got injured miraculously played for international teams deemed a threat to Italy, France and Germany at the time. I’m not saying there’s any truth to it, but it was curious, is all I’m saying……

    If this is what goes on, and a code of omerta exists around it, you know, full well, that if you speak out you’re kissing goodbye £50,000 a week. So you shut the fuck up, don’t you?

    If you’re the media and you need a diet of ‘stories’, then a healthy diet of injuries, uncertainty about injuries etc is what you need to fill the ‘news’ slots. Isn’t it?

    If the media who control football revenues to a huge degree ‘decide’ that what they want is a certain ‘story line’, then clubs, including managers and players, need to decide whether they want the media’s cash or not. And if they don’t, they’re walking away from a shedload of money, aren’t they?

    You’ll note that the incentive for all of this would be the oldest one in the book: greed.

    I’m not saying for one moment that it’s going on, I’m saying it’s just as likely to be going on as referee nobbling.

    Because referee nobbling requires the input of the committee dishing out referees assignments, doesn’t it? And the referees concerned. And the people who control the referee’s committee. Why do think that lot do it, eh? What’s so different about that lot to medics, eh? NOTHING.

    So you’d better make your mind up Walter about why referees are such appalling people and everyone else is so saintlike.

    Because although you may be right, there is no a priori reason, based on your arguments, to say that you are.

  6. @Rhys

    the playing of unfit players over the years is very interesting Topic, it does raise questions in my mind, in some games we have had3 players hobbling about who are either delberately lying and declaring themselves fit when they are not or wenger is taking serious risks, I DONT BELIEVE WENGER would play a unfit player without him saying he is fine.

  7. Finngooner, can I trust the doctors…? 😉 No, its getting better thanks for asking anyway.

  8. Look Who cares about whats meant and blah blah blah – TV and Jury are out for the season – end of. REad this comment from Lawro: ” The Gunners undoubtedly have great ability but there’s no mental strength or leadership. Arsene Wenger says captain Cesc Fabregas is a great leader. No. Fabregas is a great player but he’s not a leader and I don’t think he ever will be. When things are going wrong it’s the leaders who come to the fore and Arsenal don’t have any. ”

    Never really agree with this muppet but for once I think he is spot on.

  9. we dont have the mentality to get thru a final against a team fighting relegation. why on earth should we believe we can win the league.

    there was nothing freakish about any defeat. for the last few years we have bottled it, and bottled it spectacularly when it mattered…

    United v arsenal champions league semi final: bottled it “freakish slip”
    Fa cup semi final chelsea v arsenal: bottled it “goal keeping error”
    premier league last year: bottled it – injuries
    carling cup this year: bottled it “freakish” error
    fa cup this year: bottled it even tho we KNEW how united were going to play out tactically

    what is there to be optimistic about. We have the best squad in terms of quality in the premier league. but we’v lingered in 2nd place. why? no winning mentality

  10. First time on this excellent site. Conspiracy theories are just as bad as overeaction by fans who want Wenger sacked for misleading the fans. However our injury record particulalry at times of stress as the big games come round is shocking. I think the medical team apply a very strict testing criteria when assessing fitness. If it was applied in 1970 we would not have won the double. This year has been the same as the last five years, much promise but falling short when the going gets tough. That was never said of any Arsenal side in my living memory. We are crying out for an Adams or Viera who would play through injury and send a clear message to the rest. Jack is made of the right Arsenal stuff but will probably be overplayed too young just as Fabregas has been and he is paying for it now. Leaders make teams great.. Lawro knows his stuff as he was part of the great Liverpool side. Newcastle away this year sums us up briliant one minute, pathetic and naive the next.

  11. Walter stop giving excuses for Wenger, he is guilty because he didnt became doctor him self, if he did we wold not be in problems now. Beside, if he can read minds he could know it. So its again Arsenes guilt..

  12. It was the manner of the United defeat that gives me the feeling that despite our good position in the league, despite our ability to focus completely on one competition, we will probably fail to take that final step again……”
    That perfectly sums up what this current Arsenal side is made of. Thanks mate!

    As you put it, if we manage to get a win tomorrow, then all our big guns will be back for the run-in starting 2 weeks from now.
    As for the 2 crucial injuries you mentioned, Almunia’s performance in his last 2 games has convinced me that we won’t miss WS that much. But JD is a big, big loss. A quick look at his stats tell you the whole story.
    And it’s confirmed now that TV5 won’t return this season (what was Arsene doing back in January if he “didn’t expect him to be back”???); that’ll raise a lot of questions if we fail to win the title due to defensive blunders.

  13. It doesn’t matter what Arsene said or wanted to say in the press conference. The fact of the matter remains that we all knew in january that depending on Vermaelen to come back would be a huge risk. And we know that our season will be over if we dont have good quality defenders at the back. We already saw what happened last year. So why didn’t we buy a defender in jan? Everyone knew we needed one. Now we have the last defenders left, Squillaci and Koscielny, also i dont think many of us has confidence in this pairing. Dont expect Miquel or Hajrovic to be our saviours this season.

  14. The doom and gloom merchants will grab onto anything they can to insult Wenger with. These people aren’t capable of independent or rational thought. While the intelligent supporters look at all the complex factors, many of them beyond the club’s control, before forming an opinion on the relative success of the club and manager, these ‘fans’ let those respected pundits (*giggle*) tell them what to believe, and then they go around picking and choosing the information which suits their narrow-minded viewpoint.

    Every season we get better, and every season they have to shift their goalposts of ‘success’ so that, in their eyes, we conveniently always comes up short.

    This is why we now have then en masse telling us we can’t win the league, because they’re terrified we actually might! They can’t possibly spin a Premier League title as failure, although some of the dunderheads would probably try. With fans like these, who needs enemies?

  15. Somehow as far as I can see, only some Arsenal supporters lack wining mentality as they give up from Title challenge before season is over.

  16. @wrenny – He has had a massive summer ahead of him in the last 2 years but has flatly refused to deal with the situation. How many more chances do we give him??? AS far as transfer funds goes,he could have offloaded 5-6 of the underperformers last year and raisedapprox£60million. Add the £20 -£30Mill he has and you have not only created a substantial transfer pot but also released valuable wages which can be used for the 3-4 new signings. You then promote the likes of Lansbury,Bartley etc into the fisrt team squad to make up the numbers, and most ofthem are better than the dross wewouldhave offloaded. It aint rocket science!!!!

  17. @Armin – below is the reasonwhy i believe our season is over. A very interesting stat from BBC sport. Djourou has made 31 appearances in all competitions this season and Arsenal have not lost a league game with him in the team since a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on 22 November 2008. Then look at the ratio of games we have won with Squill and Kos playing together…..i rest my case!!!

  18. LOL @ Armin

    Isn’t that just the most delicious irony!?!??

    They will complain about us lacking mental fortitude, AND THEN concede defeat in the title race in the same stupid breath! Absolutely spineless are these ‘fans’, and I use the term ‘fans’ in the loosest possible sense.

  19. Can someone explain to me how offloading “rubbish” players can bring that much money to Arsenal? Because if they are rubbish we will have to give them away for free.

  20. Wrenny , dont imagine these pundits will not spin the title as failure should we win it, Adrian Durham from Talksh1te has been saying that if Arsenal win it will be down to others failings rather than the managers genius. And once more, waves of called Gooners were phoning in to agree with him!
    The media hate Arsenal, we know why and they will not stop until he has left the building. They scent blood, and are determined to take as many of the more brittle Arsenal fans with them. Thankfully, Wenger thinks on a much higher plane than the media or some fans can ever aspire to, I am sure it just washes over him as these things do with all men of vision.
    That said, he really should have got a defender in to cover Vermaelen!

  21. Terry,

    that is an interesting stat you show there. If I remember correct Djourou, wasn’t that the player who never would come good and wasn’t good enough for Arsenal? He was not fit to wear the shirt and blah blah…

    Players can get better you know when given the chance

  22. I think Wenger is very bad in gambling. Whenever he tries to gamble on player fitness, it backfires big time.

  23. I think we should just turn our weakness into a strength in this title run in!!!

    I cant see why we cant out score ANY team in this run in, Agreed the man u game might be difficult but they have to play champions league. OUR FOCUS should be on getting as much attacking talent back as possible SQU and KOS will concede but if we score 3 or 4 each game in the 10 games we have remaining 9 of them shouldnt be a problem and I cant see Man u winning all their games. All we need to do is rely on our strengths, and with around a week to prepare for each game and only one focus, chelsea and Man u will take their eye off the prem it is inevitable, we have finished with all other competitions a couple of weeks earlier than last time and if we get through the next 4 games I think the rest will take care of itself

  24. You know what..I’m sick of this.. If people want to blame Wenger for every perceived problem, and decide our season is over because of x, y , or f****** z reason, when we quite clearly are still in the title race, then they are welcome to it.. Just believe that and act accordingly.. Don’t ever dare come on here to celebrate when we win trophies while Wenger is still in charge. Those triumphs will not be yours.. Bloody muppets.

  25. Sorry if your reading of Untold has been interrupted by people who post comments unrelated to the article in question. I am doing my best to deal with this, and hopefully you will see a decline in this in the coming weeks. 99.9% of readers who are kind enough to comment on articles do keep to the point of the article, and I am most grateful to everyone who does abide by this simple rule.

  26. I think it would be nice if United reach the semi finals of uefa. Simply bcoz, according to uefa’s match schedule, our match against them will be right in between the uefa 1st and 2nd leg semi finals. That would be a boost for us knowing that most of their players might be tired when they come to emirates.

  27. @Mandy
    Hahaha! Oh yes I had forgotten about that, we will have obviously won it by default because everyone else was so rubbish is what they would say 😀

    Wenger’s made a monkey out of these journos too many times and they love sticking the knife into him every chance they get. Right from his first day on the job when they printed news of ‘rumours’; when he dared them to specify them and risk slander they left with their little tails tucked between their legs. He made them look stupid, and they’ve wanted to do the same to him since.

    And when Arsene declared his team capable of going a season unbeaten, that was their big chance! Oh, how they laughed and mocked, the silly frog’s gone potty! And then he made idiots of them all once again, I’m sure they too great pleasure in heaping praise on the great Invincibles side (not!).

  28. Wenger’s made a monkey out of these journos too many times

    Hardly difficult though is it 🙂

  29. @wrenny

    oh I remember the going unbeaten bit.. I remember the field day the media had when we lost soon after.. No it wasn’t that Wenger said his team COULD go unbeaten.. It was that he was arrogant enough to say that they WOULD go unbeaten.

  30. “Because if they are rubbish we will have to give them away for free.”
    1. There are always clubs who buy rubbish players (Arsenal)
    2. Offloading 10 out of 25 loanies saves you wages

  31. I will show my full support to Arsenal until the end of the season. I think we will win the league. If not, he has to concede his project failed.

  32. In fairness there is some journos who rave about arsenal, and really respect and admire what he has done, praise doesnt sell newspapers CONTROVERSY does. newspapers are full of bad NEWs and by their inherit nature appeal to negative people, 90% of news worthy news is bad news.

    If you look through the history of News they build people up so they can knock them down again,it is for the sadists, look at what they are doing with Barca they are setting them up for a fall and a big one at that. I hate chelsea but the media loved getting a piece out of them, so I choose to look at that the more they find ways to knock you down the closer you are to becoming a success, Schadenfreude springs to mind because we all want to hear about someone elses misery because it makes us feel a bit better about our own life, why do you think we get terry gloating on here every chance he gets. No one wants to read the story about mr perfect who lives in perfect land and never has a problem.

    when arsenal succeed on a small budget comparable to a mid table team it makes the likes of City, utd chelsea and liverpool look bad, we would be that hypothetical mr perfect, playing attractive football, winning trophies and on a small budget that would make them look at that man in the mirror and question their own pitiful club, so the pleasure them and the media can get is that mr perfect hasnt won trophies YET, but when we do they will find another way to have a dig at us, somewhere on the lines of they havent won back to back trophies, or red cards, or back to champions league

    So as an arsenal fan you have to ask yourself am I feeding the media monster?? Their agenda should be ignored and boycotted at all costs, get independent stories especially ones where they are not trying to sell papers

  33. @ Dark Prince
    “It doesn’t matter what Arsene said or wanted to say in the press conference. The fact of the matter remains that we all knew in january that depending on Vermaelen to come back would be a huge risk.”
    No, Dark Prince. At the time, Vemaelen was EXPECTED to come back, according to the best medical opinion.

    “And we know that our season will be over if we dont have good quality defenders at the back.”
    Kos and Squill are at least as good if not better than the equivalent at other clubs.
    “So why didn’t we buy a defender in jan? Everyone knew we needed one. Now we have the last defenders left, Squillaci and Koscielny, also i dont think many of us has confidence in this pairing. Dont expect Miquel or Hajrovic to be our saviours this season.”
    We looked for defenders. How can you be so sure that there was a good one to buy? Presumably you didn’t want just any old player, you wanted a good one who would fit in and gel with our current players? They are not necessarily available just because we want one.

  34. Agree with Shard, getting tired of all these doomsayers and people not supporting Wenger, the players, and the club! Wenger makes mistakes just like any other person and manager, but that doesn’t mean he’s not the perfect manager for Arsenal! If you don’t support the manager and think we are already out of the league (down 3 pts with a game in hand), then you’re not a real Arsenal fan! There’s a soon to be bankrupt team in Stanford Bridge that buys championships that needs more fans! Me? I’ll stick with Arsenal, a team that actually likes to win things the right way!

  35. Mr.28’s comment has reminded me of the stupidity I witnessed at the Le Grove site (I used to visit it from time to time out of morbid curiosity).

    Someone in the comments wanted Arsenal desperately to sign Schweinsteiger, and even had a financial solution all ready to pay for the German’s collosal wages. Just release the whole Reserve team! He was seriously suggesting that Arsenal release upwards of TWENTY youngsters to recoup their wages and pay for the German.

    When someone asked him who exactly would he get rid of, his response was:

    “Take your pick –

    Just take your pick, they’re only the future of the club! Priceless.

  36. @Wrenny
    “only the future of the club”
    are you talking about the reserves side who lost 10-1 to Aston Villa couple of months ago? well thats stupidity

  37. I think people talk about the reserve side that is currently top of their league.
    And that reserve side is actually our U19 side as the best reserve players of that side are out on loan. So in fact in the reserve league we play the reserves of the reserves for the moment.

  38. ManU fixtures starting to look real busy, and here’s all they must do before locking hornes with us at the Ems:

    19/Mar Bolton (H)
    02/Apr W/Ham (A)
    06/Apr Chelsea (A)
    09/Apr Fulham (H)
    12/Apr Chelsea (H)
    16/Apr ManC (N)
    23/Apr Everton (H)
    01/May Arsenal (A)

    Unfortunately, only 2 away games & a neutral game in this space.

  39. @Arsenal28

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t a joke.. It seems while our club may or may not buy rubbish players, it definitely has some rubbish ‘fans’..

  40. I feel UNTOLD needs to write a few articles with a standard response to stupid, ill thought out comments and then people can just not respond to them but just refer them to a link.

    “Wise men never argue with fools, because people from a distance can’t tell who is who”

  41. FunGunner- point 1- yeah right, Vermaelen was first expected to be back in few days, then in few weeks, and then few months, he had 6 relapses!! And u still expected in january that Vermaelen will not hav another relapse??

    Point 2- as i hav long pointed out in this blog, maybe Koscielny and Squillaci are good 3rd and 4th choice defenders, but we cant win the league with their partnership in 50% our league games.

    Point 3- your final statement is just made of assumptions. Even i can make assumptions that buying a new quality defender would have saved our season, we would have been carling cup champions, playing in champions league quarter finals and in the fa cup semis and not to mention, we could have not lost points in epl in this year. So all i can say is that, we just didn’t even try. If we had brought a new defender then either it cud have been good or either it cud have been bad. But without trying we took the risk of expecting Djourou and Koscielny will never get injured.

  42. That’s the one Mr.28, which also sits top of the Reserve South despite currently having seventeen players out on loan.

    Perhaps you don’t know this, or have decided to ignore it as it suits your paper-thin argument, but Aston Villa prefer to field a very strong team in Reserve matches rather than loaning their best youngsters out as most other clubs do, and so have won the last three Reserve league titles with this philosophy.

    Coming specifically to that freak 10-1 result, it came about as Arsenal had a serious shortage of defenders which left them fielding a centre-back partnership of Nico Yennaris, a 5’8 central midfielder, and Elton Monteiro, a 16 year old making his Reserve debut. Against the strongest team in the Reserves, with a smattering of players as old as 22 and 23, our chances against Villa at that level are always slim and we often get beat.

    I’m explaining these circumstances to add context to that defeat more to the benefit of those who might not have known about them, as I imagine that in your 28 IQ mind these will be trivialised as ‘excuses’.

  43. Anyways, its just pathetic to see that some Arsenal fans cannot accept the truth the Wenger clearly failed in his gamble of not reinforcing the defence when most of us knew we needed it. Nothing against Wenger though, but it would be humble for some of us to accept for a mistake made rather than making fun of other Arsenal fans who understand this point.

  44. @Dark Prince

    Hardly the best idea to ask for humility while referring to others as pathetic.

  45. @Shard
    I agree, Arsenal has some rubbish fans

    Stop with the silly jibes, its childish,
    It was not “freak”. It was embarassing. I knew about the circumstances. As bad as the situation at that time was, a 10-1 defeat is inexcusable.

  46. Also regarding buying new defenders, i dont think Wenger has to be blamed about for the lack of signings. The main people behind this is the board of directors who just dont want Wenger to spend any money. I clearly believe that if Wenger was given support from within the board to buy some players, then Wenger would have bought some players. So the main accused are the people above him. And unfortunately, these same people might even sack him one day bcoz of the lack of trophies. I’d urge fans to support Wenger but we also need to voice our opinion to the Directors regarding the restrictions which has been put on Wenger. Really miss David Dein.

  47. @Shard- you should read my post again, i didn’t call anyone pathetic. I called the situation created by lack of logic as pathetic. I dont see how making fun of your own fellow supporters is going to help our Club in anyway. Just stick to proper debate and try to respect and understand each other’s points. Just think, by abusing our own fellow supporters, how we’re making a laughing stock of ourselves in front of other club supporters. Have you ever seen any other club supporters making fun of each other in this way? This situation is what i call pathetic.

    If we have to make progress then we have to support not only our manager strengths but also understand his weaknesses.

  48. Dark Prince,
    Seven clean sheets in our last 10 league games. Remember how much importance you gave to us keeping clean sheets? That hardly looks like a defence crying out for reinforcements to me.

    We bought 2 centre backs in the summer and going by what you’ve said you don’t believe that either one of them is good enough. So where’s the guarantee that in January we would find a better one?

  49. @28
    I don’t remember us losing 10-1 before or since, so yes it is a freak result – as in highly irregular. We wouldn’t be top of the league if it wasn’t.

  50. This is just plain stupid. Wengers failures are bloody obvious and yet people continue to defend his stupidity ovr an over again. The frog needs to be shown the door @ the end of the season pity we don’t have a board ambitious enough to do so

  51. PIRES:
    March 18th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    @wrenny – He has had a massive summer ahead of him in the last 2 years but has flatly refused to deal with the situation. How many more chances do we give him??? AS far as transfer funds goes,he could have offloaded 5-6 of the underperformers last year and raisedapprox£60million. Add the £20 -£30Mill he has and you have not only created a substantial transfer pot but also released valuable wages which can be used for the 3-4 new signings. You then promote the likes of Lansbury,Bartley etc into the fisrt team squad to make up the numbers, and most ofthem are better than the dross wewouldhave offloaded. It aint rocket science!!!!


    It’s all so easy isn’t it Pires?

    Since Arsenal don’t conduct their business negotiations in public……..we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.

    We know that Arsene has gone after certain players and been gazumped by the financial m ight of Man U (e.g. Ronaldo Smalling)had a few stellar victories…(e.g. Aaron ….phew look at the paucity of Man U’s midfield and imagine what he would do to their make-up)

    We know that h doesn’t get involved in crazy trading..and that he refuses to pay silly money (e.g. 20 million) for defenders he values under 10 million… (e.g. Cahill ) but hey , what’s 10 million quid?

    I regularly blow that on my weekends , don’t you?

    To say that Arsene has been inactive is just plain dumb. He has brought in Koz and Squillaci.

    The trouble with having a superfluity of players is that they then get disgruntled when they don’t play….



    Once players become fringe players, they can become a negative influence in the team….so you have to strike a balance between a large functional squad and a bored harem.

    With Miquel and Bartley coming through strong, Wenger doesn’t really need to go overboard buying defenders.

    Next season you will see Koz Djourou and Verminator vying for the pairing…

    As for your underperformers….you site 5-6 so you obviously value them at 10-12 million each.

    Who are these good players who underperform?

    Names please

  52. Wrenny- i clearly remember the debate we had that time. And if you recall, we had argued on the partnership of Koscielny and Squillaci in that article, where i clearly had said that this partnership will not work and you seemed to think otherwise. And lets be honest, the 7 clean sheets in this year is one of the biggest reasons why we’re still in the title race, thus clearly justifying my point about the importance of clean sheets, something which you were clearly neglecting in that article. So also lets be honest about the fact that none of us expected Djourou to perform so well. No Arsenal Supporter, not even you or me, would have said at the start of the season that Djourou will be our best defender this season. He’s the biggest reasons we have 7 clean sheets in last 2 months.

    But lets come back to Squillaci and Koscielny partnership. How many games have they played in and how many clean sheets have they managed to figure in. Let me remind you of the disaster which happened in Newcastle after Djourou got replaced by Squillaci. Let me remind you of the horror we had for few games thinking what would happen if Djourou had got seriously injured in that game. That horror is happening again. Also if you are still think Squillaci and Koscielny can perform then just look back at our season before Djourou played. I think thats proves my point a lot.

  53. @Dark prince
    I don’t know where you got that from – I’ve said quite a few times that Koscielny and Squillaci together don’t work. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad defenders as we’ve seen how Djourou partnered with either one strikes a very good balance.

    If you go back to one of Walter’s article quite early in the season about all the different permutations we had in defence (written some time before Djourou took Squillaci’s place in the first team), I commented on how Djourou and Koscielny together had the best goals condeded to games ratio and I thought this would be our best pair going forward until Vermaelen returned.

    But we’ve moved away from where this all started. You were making assumptions that Wenger didn’t even try to sign a defender, and like Marcus says, since Arsenal don’t conduct their business in public you haven’t got a clue how much he tried.

  54. Wrenny- In relation to the previous article, if u agree that Koscielny and Squillaci combo doesn’t work, then i guess we are in agreement of what we can expect from this partnership for the last 10 games of this season.

    Regarding the current article, I dont think i can doubt Wenger too much. He may have tried but He must faced a reality that at today’s age, the prices have increased in the transfer market, though i can understand its inflated. And i agree when Marcus says that Arsenal doesn’t go public with its dealings and we might never come to know how much Wenger had or had not tried. But eventually lets face the facts, we didn’t sign any defender in the period even though Wenger himself stating that we were short in numbers and needed a cover (in his opinion we needed a player comin on loan). But we didn’t have anyone coming in, and the reason was simply bcoz our Directors didn’t allow Wenger to make an investment in defence to save our season from a potential disaster. We had the money to buy, which Wenger too himself stated when he said that we can are in level with competing with chelsea in the transfer market. But he chose not to, either willingly or unwillingly. And i think the main reasons were the people ahead of Wenger in Arsenal, namely the directors. I dont think Wenger is a type of Manager who cant foresee such problems. But his hands are tied. He may say that he doesn’t want to interrupt the younger player’s progress by signing someone, but the fact is that this is the same Manager who once bought players like Viera, Henry, Wiltord, Bergkamp for a reasonably big amount 12-13 years ago. He would have bought someone if he was given support from within his club. But clearly, most fans cant see the bigger picture that he just cant buy now bcoz he’s not allowed too.

  55. @ Dark Prince
    yeah right, Vermaelen was first expected to be back in few days, then in few weeks, and then few months, he had 6 relapses!! And u still expected in january that Vermaelen will not hav another relapse??
    In january, they had finally sorted out the root of the problem, so wenger was entitled to rely on the medical opinion.

    Point 2- as i hav long pointed out in this blog, maybe Koscielny and Squillaci are good 3rd and 4th choice defenders, but we cant win the league with their partnership in 50% our league games.
    We can’t be sure of that – didn’t they play together at Stoke and withstand a barrage of aerial balls? Also they were both new to the PL and you have to put some of the issues down to that. Also United have problems with defensive personnel as well.

    Point 3- your final statement is just made of assumptions. Even i can make assumptions that buying a new quality defender would have saved our season, we would have been carling cup champions, playing in champions league quarter finals and in the fa cup semis and not to mention, we could have not lost points in epl in this year. So all i can say is that, we just didn’t even try. If we had brought a new defender then either it cud have been good or either it cud have been bad. But without trying we took the risk of expecting Djourou and Koscielny will never get injured.
    I am not *assuming* that we were trying to to sign someone – I *know* we were trying to sign someone. AW said he had been offered a lot of players, but none was right. You are assuming that because we didn’t buy someone, we didn’t try. He wasn’t just gambling on TV, he had no choice.

  56. @Dark Prince

    But we didn’t have anyone coming in, and the reason was simply bcoz our Directors didn’t allow

    That is not the ONLY explanation, and one that should not be at the top of the list in terms of probability either.

    Oh and in an odd twist of fate, the player that probably typified Wenger’s overall view on football the most, God himself – Dennis Bergkamp, was actually already at the club when Wenger got here.

  57. @ Dark Prince
    It’s not necessarily anything to do with the money, either. If the rright player isn’t for sale or doesn’t want to come to Arsenal, what can we do? You are assuming it’s just about money.

  58. @ DP

    Wenger himself stating that we were short in numbers and needed a cover (in his opinion we needed a player comin on loan).

    That was when we thought we had only two fit CBs.

  59. @DarkPrince – Please explain to me how it would be in the boards interest to hamstring Wengers transfer dealings? You assert (without any evidence whatsoever) that his hands are tied by the board, but I just don’t understand the reasoning behind this statement.

    If we had (as suggested by the negative posters) bought a top class defender in January, I assume he would have played alongside Djourou, while TV was out.

    So, what happens when TV is back? Do we drop TV, the new guy, or Djourou? I’m guessing that the answer is that we drop Djourou – oh, hang on a sec, his stats are used to demonstrate how rubbish our defence is without him, so he needs to stay. I mean, he has a better matches/loss ratio than TV.

    Hmm, how about we make TV fight to get back into the team. Uhm, but he is the only player with a winning mentality in out team apart from Jack (the FIRST fully realised player from Arsenes’ project), so he surely must stay in, after all, without him we are just spineless bottlers.

    Right, in that case, we will need to get drop our new superduper signing – I am sure that will please him no end. And, if he has been successful, and shored up the defence, it wouldn’t make sense to drop him, after all, we spent all that money on him. And, as an aded bonus, we will be able to sell the young defenders coming through (Bartley, Miguel etc)after all, they won’t want to hang around waiting for the new signing to fail. But,on the other hand, if the new signing wasn’t any good, why did we spend all that money on him, and why did he displace Kos (who, in his first season in the Prem, has been pretty good on the whole)?

    So, you see, all of you CM players, it is not that simple. If you look at the “big picture”, you will see that (and this may come as a surprise to some of you) one of the most respected managers in WORLD football does actually know a little bit more about this game than all of us.


    Tony, can you please get the door fixed; there appears to be a lot of riffraff blowing into this place lately (e.g. Harrish with his racist comments, and what appears to be a flood of refugees from LeGrove) Cheers 😀

  60. OK, but you’ve really changed your tune there DP 😀 you were quite adamant before that Wenger didn’t even try.

    None of us know what goes on inside the club, but I believe very strongly that Wenger did his best to sign a defender. And I don’t know whether the board supported him, but again I strongly believe that money is always there for the manager if and when he needs it.

    And yes I would have been glad to see us signing a CB in January, as long as we didn’t pay over the odds or it meant Bartley and Miquel getting completely blocked off.

    Regarding the current situation in defence, yes I’m worried about Koscielny and Squillaci being paired together. My hope is that Bartley will be recalled from Rangers, I think he’s ready to be considered and would like to see him given a chance alongside Koscielny.

  61. @wembley79

    I thought the whole world had stopped playing CM.. FM is THE game man!! 🙂

  62. @wrenny

    I think Walter said that Bartley got injured in the match against PSV last night. Check out his post in the Ryodinho article.

  63. FunGunner- point 1- i think the root cause of Vermaelen’s Injury is still unknown. And even if we know, you expect he wont suffer any more relapses while coming back to training after 9 months?? Its as good as expecting Fabregas not to get injured again bcoz of his hamstring.

    Point 2- oh yes you can be sure of that. The proof is our record this season b4 djourou came. Jus look at our stats when djourou has not played this season and you’ll be frightened.

    Point 3- believe me, if we try we can get any good defender to our club. There are many good defenders who play at clubs which are a little lower in ambition than us. Such defenders can never say no. Eg. Vermaelen and Koscielny.

    Point 4- at that time we had only 2 fit CB and even now we have only 2 fit CB. Only difference is that we could have bought a cover that time but now we’re helpless.

  64. Top comment Wembley79.

    The orthodox right whingers will carp whilst they can.
    Whilst Arsenal are top of the PL form table.

    Gr*t in hell.

  65. @shard- pls explain to me why a Manager who never used to be shy to bring in quality players for a reasonably big amount when we never asked him to, suddenly turns into a stingy one who isn’t buying a defender in jan transfer window advop 6 trophyless years , when we have only 2 defenders fit and are playing in all four competitions which tends to bring a game every 3 days and dont expect to have a single injury to any of the remaining defenders? And guess what as fate turns out, Most of the fans knew it and pleaded him to get one…

  66. @dark Prince

    My.. that’s a long question… the short answer to it would be ‘the new stadium’ (and of course all that entails)

  67. You’re right Shard 🙁

    “Kyle Bartley has been ruled out of Rangers’ Co-operative Insurance Cup final team after suffering suspected medial ligament damage in the Europa League defeat to PSV Eindhoven.

    Bartley will have a scan on his knee over the weekend but he faces several weeks on the sidelines if the initial diagnosis is confirmed.”


  68. wrenny

    that’s putting it mildly.. I didn’t realise it was ligament damage. It never rains I suppose… Of course, we don’t know if recalling him was even an option. (small comfort?)

  69. Wembley79- I’m not really good at sarcastic replies to sarcastic comments, but i’ll try my best!!

    maybe you’re right, lets just sit and enjoy the beautiful partnership of Squillaci and Koscielny. Clearly if we bought any defender then it would have hampered the growth of Squillaci. He’s clearly our best young defender!! Not to mention that he’s clearly gonna stay at Arsenal for decades, so buying anyone will just create a problem in accomodating him in the squad for another decade. Or maybe we can assume that a player like Ignasi Miquel, who clearly thinks and has stated that he doesn’t think he’s ready for first team action, should be thrown into the mix of saving our season. Maybe lets get Hajrovic and that newly signed 9 year old defender to play in our 1st team. Maybe we’ll realise that we never ever needed any signing whatsoever. I dont think we even need Lehmann to come in, we have the best goalkeeper in the likes of James Shea who can easily come in between the sticks. That would be tactical masterstroke. Or hey!! We can even let Wenger play in our 1st team. He’s surely got more experience plus he’ll be like a new signing, what say??

  70. @Shard- sorry to say but the stadium excuse cannot be used at this point of time bcoz the stadium debt is almost gone and Wenger has surplus cash to invest in his team as stated by Ivan Gazidis. So i still ask what would your answer be to my long question??

  71. @DP,

    Yep you’re right : you aren’t.

    I never mentioned Squilacci (who was obviously only ever intended to be cover)

    However, you didn’t actually answer, or refute the point that I was actually making…

  72. The stadium debt may be almost gone, and surplus cash may well be present. that does not mean that we are ready to compete for big money signings, and their wages.
    So you are looking for a relatively cheaper option, who is good enough to play ahead of Squillaci presumably. But also not be upset at being benched in favour of Vermaelen. And while you may say that he doesn’t have to be benched, the player coming in will know that it is very much a possibility since he’s being bought pretty much out of necessity. It isn’t easy finding a player good enough, cheap enough, and selfless enough to fit those criteria..
    When Squillaci was injured then it became apparent that we desperately need a CB. But the other criteria still applied. Hence the loan signing that Wenger mentioned. With Squillaci coming back earlier than expected, the loan becomes less tempting an offer (especially because a player available for loan will probably not be much good)

  73. @Wembley79- lets be clear, you’re making suppositions on what to do when we have all our defenders fit at the same point of time (which i haven’t seen in the last 3 years atleast). Be honest, are you more worried about accomodating a defender in the squad or are you more worried about the Collapse of Arsenal in all 4 competitions for the 6th straight season??

  74. There’s always a call-back clause in these loan deals, but you do need both clubs and the player to agree to the recall and the player’s club paying back some or all of the loan fee. That’s not usually a problem though, if Arsenal wanted Bartley back he isn’t about to say ‘No’ to his parent club and refuse the recall, and if Rangers refused to let him go that would pretty much rule them out ever borrowing an Arsenal player again.

    Bartley’s season long loan at Sheffield Utd was cut short so he could go to Rangers in the same way.

  75. @Dark prince

    Also, I’m quite sure that our young players coming through are a very big part of why Wenger doesn’t simply go out and buy.I think the DM position that we wanted a signing in, will actually be filled by Frimpong and Coquelin. Similarly at CB I think he has big hopes for Bartley and Miquel. It isn’t just a desire to pull players from our academy either. We (and every club) need the homegrown players now. And with the under 21s not counting in the 25 man squad, having players of that age gives the squad greater flexibility.

  76. I fail to see the problem with what is happening according to some of you at Arsenal Football Club.
    We have a great Manager
    We have a great stadium
    We have a great first 11 and we will soon have a very good first 23 ..well thats my opinion looking at what we have comming through and possibly 2 summer signings.

    we are competitive in everything NOT one hit wonders in the chaps league like leeds years ago and sp*rs this season.

    shortly we will be more than competitive we will be winning these titles.

    Yet some of you lot remind me of the people back in my small home town who popped up wearing blackburn jersey’s the year Jack walker spent all the money on them to win the league.

    They havent been seen since and neither will some of you lot.
    good riddins I say.
    Its not the fans who have supported Arsenal since the early seventies that are doing the moaning its the glory hunters that supported since AW came on board.

  77. @Shard- now thats a mighty long list of criteria….

    Lets put it this way, when Wenger goes out to buy a defender, how many defenders will logically reject coming to a team that pays a better wage, has better footballing facilities, is one of the top clubs of the world, is playing in champions league every year, has probably the best manager in the world, playing along with the best talents, is fighting for a quadruple and is on the verge of achieving greatness???…. Hmmmmm…. doesn’t sound like any defender will ever say no to us.

    And let me be clear, a quality defender may cost around £25 mil, i can admit that. But when Arsenal lost the fa cup, Carling cup, the champions league, and, God forbids, if we lose the league as well, then wat is the loss?? -our loss will not just be more than that £25 mil, our loss would be psychological as well which i guess no amount of money can repair.

  78. @Redgooner

    Aay!! I resent the implication that all who started following Arsenal after Wenger came to the club are glory hunters 🙂

  79. Shard and DP,
    The stadium debt is still far from gone, our debt didn’t actually peak until 2008 although it’s been considerably reduced now.

    A bigger restriction on the club was actually the property side – the Highbury flat. The recession and housing market slowdown meant a lot of apartments weren’t sold as quickly as the club planned for, but still had to pay the banks for what we borrowed to build them. That was a bigger spanner in the works that people think. By contrast the stadium started bringing in cash right away.

    It was only last summer that we finally paid off all of the property debt and restructured the stadium debt into 21 year bonds. Before then it was still a pretty big noose around our neck.

  80. @Dark Prince

    How does you’re above post show that the board are denying Wenger support in the transfer market?

    By the way, since it is the second time you have referred to the length of the question or criteria, let me clarify, I wasn’t being snide or disrespectful. Go back and read that question. It quite literally was a long statement. That’s all.

    Anyway, without me addressing any of the things that you say a defender won’t say no to, basically you have admitted that the price criteria will not be met(rendering the rest of it moot). However wise you may regard a ‘top quality’ CB being bought, a 25 m signing, for a position that we bought cover, and only MIGHT need an extra body in for the rest of the season, while young players are coming through the system, quite simply was never going to happen. (that’s a long statement too)

  81. @DP

    Well, I am not making any suppositions at all, I am simply positing the potential of a knee jerk reaction

    It’s interesting that you still:

    a) haven’t justified your own postulation: vis the boards’ motivation in not allowing the manager to buy

    b) Explained what we would do with the defender who would be better than the defenders that we had (i.e. Kos), but would be both be poor enough that we would drop him upon the return of the two of the defenders mentioned (Djourou and TV) and also happy to be treated in such a way. He would also have had to be available and willing to join us in January (and not cup tied either!)

    You may notice that Kos (potential for the future) and Squilacci (Cover for injuries) were not included in my previous post.

    sar·casm (särkzm)
    1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
    2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
    3. The use of sarcasm.

    Please quote my use of sarcasm against you in my previouse post.

    Straw Man

    This is the fallacy of refuting a caricatured or extreme version of somebody’s argument, rather than the actual argument they’ve made. Often this fallacy involves putting words into somebody’s mouth by saying they’ve made arguments they haven’t actually made, in which case the straw man argument is a veiled version of argumentum ad logicam.

  82. @wrenny

    I sort of suspected that, but I really didn’t feel like searching for the financial figures at that point. Thank you for clearing that. Any idea how much we have to pay each year for the bonds?

  83. @Wrenny- though he stadium debts are not completly gone, it would be absurd to say that Arsenal didn’t have enough money to engage in a transfer of one defender. That would be too unrealistic.

  84. I forgot to mention, we would also need to have ensured that the new signing was impervious to injury.

  85. @wembley79

    True..But that’s just opening a can of worms. It’ll be our injury record that’ll become the focus of the debate next.

  86. @shard

    Absolutely. However, my point was that there is absolutely no guarantee that if we (or any other team) had bought a 15-25m player he would have remained free of injury.

  87. @Wembley79- here are your answers
    a) it can been seen from the fact that David Dein was sacked. It can be seen from the fact that none of Arsenal’s excutives have ever came out to criticize Wenger on his lack of signings when the fans have asked so many times for it. It simply shows that they are a part of this plan to avoid spending money and take the fans for granted. Best eg. The recent ticket rise at the most absurd timing- which clearly shows the lack of respect they have for the fans.

    b) Ever thought how you’ll be able to actually win a quadruple?? Arsenal were playing every 3 days for the last 2 and half months, and it could have been for this months also. And you expect to use only 2 defenders for this whole games?? Thats where that extra quality defender comes into play.
    Hopefully you hav noticed that our cover players play more than our regular players. So isn’t it time to improve the quality of our cover players as well??

  88. Wembley79- Turning a blind eye:
    The idiom turning a blind eye is used to describe the process of ignoring unpopular orders or inconvenient facts or activities.

  89. Dark Prince’s argument to me has failed to be objective. The point is would the purchase of that extra defender have guaranteed success? What is the assurance that the defender too would not be injured? One thing is that you never can tell what fate is going to offer you but you can as well make the best of whatever situation you find yourself which is what Wenger is doing at the moment. I think the press binge of our going without a trophy for the past six years has started to affect some fans(?). I’m sure the purchase of another keeper was also strong on the agenda of many fans during the transfer window only for Szczesny to emerge as a more than capable choice. Only Wenger had faith in that boy and he’s coming out as good as they can come. What is the point of maintaining such a vibrant youth system if there is no hope of any of the kids coming through? Over the past few seasons, a number of players have come through the ranks and shown that they are good enough for the epl – Song, Djourou, Gibbs, Wiltshere and Szczesny are examples. How much would those players have cost to bring them in at this stage of their careers if they have to be bought now? The notion that players that are bought for high prices are always better than homegrown talents is one of the problems we face as Arsenal fans simply because we have not won any trophy lately. I believe there are more than one way to success and as Arsenal we have chosen this particular way that others are struggling to copy. I will also want DP to know that it is not every talented footballer that is good for a club. Some players that have had to leave us recently have done so for more than football reasons. Antonio Cassano is very talented, yet not many club are willing to take him on. So, the issue of not many defenders will say no to us is out of it. Hazard has come out to say that he does not look forward to joining us and this does not have to do with money as players will always have their preferences.

  90. @DP

    David Dein was sacked for attempting to manipulate the ownership of the club(as far as can be concluded from the information to which we have access). Not sure how that is relevant, unless you are proposing a change of the model of ownership for the club from shared ownership to a single owner.
    One could conclude that the logical result of that approach could ultimately end in us being similar to Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and Man U in terms of our ownership and ultimate financial position. I know that this is a non sequitar in itself, but I feel that we are in a better position in both the long and middle term future than any of the clubs above.

    This is an example of the difference between our manager, and the negative posters on here (btw, I specifically did not address this second point to you). The ultimate conclusion to their argument is that we buy multiple world class backups for every position (after all, the run of injuries could happen in any position, to any number of players, and for any length of time). How does that fit in with a 25 man squad? How does that fit in with the UEFA financial fair play rules? And, finally, how does one manage (returning to the second part of my original post) the world class “cover” players that would have installed in the squad?

    By the way, our defence of Djourou and Koscielny did better in two matches against Barcelona (in terms of goals conceded) than Real Madrid and their tactical defensive genius of a coach. We also did it with ten men for the final 30 minutes, away from home. I think we should give credit where it is due.

    This provides a very good analysis of the defense at January 1 2011 for those interested in facts

  91. I’m not sure about the repayments, but they should be a fair bit lower than the £20m a year we’re paying at the moment. It depends on the interest rate and the club’s strategy, but Gazidis has said “Further significant falls in debt are unlikely in the foreseeable future. The stadium finance bonds have a fixed repayment profile over the next 21 years and we currently expect to make repayments of debt in accordance with that profile.”

    So it looks like we won’t be trying to pay it off early. That means more money for the first team, but I imagine most money invested into the playing squad will be in extending and improving contracts of our big young talents, not acquiring players. Just think what kind of wages the likes of Nasri, Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey, Djourou, Szczesny, Miyaichi, etc. might be on in a couple of years….

  92. @DP

    Sorry I didn’t respond to the other answers to the boards reasoning behind denying Wenger the money to spend, but they weren’t relevant either

  93. The problem is Dark Prince, look at it like this.

    Wenger buys Cahill – real value 10 mill- at inflated price 20 mill.

    [Now, the world and his wife know that Arsenal wants to shore up his defence, Bolton really really do not want to sell their best player, so what happens, they will only sell him for 20 mill.- Its the same thing with Cesc, his real value is probably around 50-60 mill, but Wenger markets him at 80 Mill]

    Ok, so Wenger capitualtes and buys Cahill at 20 mill….what happens next?

    Now he has ‘acceded to market terrorism’ for want of a better phrase. Everybody will now try to hold Arsenal to ransom if Arsenal come for a player…..


    1) You will always be paying double from now on… the long run this means that as a club without an Alan Sugar Daddy, you are, well, politely…er….stuffed.

    2) That said player will have big wage demands which will ratchet up wages throughout the club…

    Its just a slow burning recipe for disaster.

    Arsenal have their long term goals. Those goals are now coming to fruition. We are seeing the home grown crop coming through, and if JW is exemplary, we are very very happy.

    And when Robbie Savage says you need to sack your manager, its like having a snotty-nosed yob down the fish shop on a Saturday night telling you to get a life…

    you definitely know you are doing something right.

  94. @Dark prince so you are saying we should go and spend stupid sums on money on players and their wages? ever heard of the uefa financial fairplay rules? thought not

  95. If we do win the league i hope Wenger wont feel vindicated and think the squad is good enough for next season. We still need players and strengthening. The league has come down to two teams… Man Utd who have their weakest squad in 15 or so years, and Arsenal who are so very close to being a great TEAM but for a few key positions. Chelsea dropped away due to an ageing team. Liverpool were on the brink of oblivion 6 months ago. Man City a work in progress. Tottenham, well they’re just Tottenham. Whoever wins the league will win it by default, as the others were not good enough as opposed to that team being especially good. We mustn’t fall into the trap of judging our team’s progress this season by comparing it to a league that has weakened significantly in standard over the past 4 or 5 years. We should compare it against a team that has improved ie Barca, and look at closing the gap on them as it will inherently make us stronger domestically. We are in the fortunate position to directly assess our progress due to having played Barca the past two seasons.

  96. @Arsenalal

    Ok, so we use Barcelona to gauge our progress. Do we get to do that playing like for like (i.e. 11 v 11 for the whole match, and an equal number of second string players)? If we do, you will find that, on these terms, we have not lost to Barcelona as we have drawn 1, and won one out of five games. The other three fall foul of the conditions mentioned above.

    Also, it is a widely accepted truth that, over the course of the season, the best team wins (i.e. the ones with the most points), or else we would not be still waiting for a league title 😛

  97. Wembley79- allow me to respond to different arguements.

    Firstly, the sacking of David Dein was not just another sacking, we lost an executive who was a true Arsenal Supporter. He wanted Arsenal to be competitive. How many of the current executives of Arsenal belong in that category?? I feel none. Thats the reason why many Arsenal fans feel that our management (excluding Wenger) are just money sucking executives. They know Arsenal is earning profits and is a good time investment and will keep it that way. And its a good thing to have our club in profits, but it doesn’t mean that they should show their stinginess when we really need some back up especially when the defence is hanging on a thin thread of Djourou’s fitness.

    Secondly, regarding UEFA’s FFP, Arsenal are already miles ahead in that system. And buying any single player will not have any major effects on our accounts.

    Thirdly, the squad limit rule, we all know that some or the other point in time we’ll have to allow many players to leave. We have more than 50 youngsters coming in through the academy, how did u expect accomodate them all?? And you think Squillaci is going to stay here forever?? He’s more than 30yrs old and clearly isn’t upto the same level as the other defenders. He has to let go this summer.

  98. Marcus- i completly agree with you on your points. And i’ve never supported the idea of sacking Wenger. I know that the transfer market has become a difficult place. But you tell me, most of us knew that we’re taking a huge risk by not having a back up when Vermaelen’s injury was still very suspicious and Squillaci too had got injured that time. We all knew we were walking on a thin line when we were expecting that our remaining defenders will not get injured for the rest half of the season. Even by the first half of our season, we came to know that if Djourou gets injured then the partnership of Squillaci and Koscielny will not be good enough. Seriously, since when did we start to expect one our players to not get injured?? We took that gamble of not going in for a back up. And now that gamble has backfired. Eventually, the facts are that we’re out of 3 competitions in a fortnight. And now we have to play with the tried and tested failed partnership of Koscielny and Squillaci in the last competition we have left and that also for the most crucial games like Liverpool, Spurs and Man U.

  99. I’m upset with the medical team for misdiagnosing Vermaelen’s injury. Happened last season with van Persie as well. Not to mention Cesc’s mysterious hamstrings, Gallas’ hamstrings, Theo’s ankles, Diaby in general….

  100. @DP

    Whilst I agree that Dein wanted us to be competitive (which we are, by the way – we did get to a CL final after he was removed), he betrayed his position of trust in his machinations. This does not prove that the board are responsible for “tying Wengers hands in the transfer market”. One could equally argue that he attempted to hold us back by opposing Wenger on the idea of building a new stadium, so was guilty of wanting to hold us back by being small minded (i.e. wanting to rent wembley rather than build a new stadium)

    It is perfectly understandable that he was removed, purely for the underhand way that he went about trying to achieve what he wanted.

    And most of our young players are and will be considered as home grown, so will be allowed to remain in the squad.

    The FFP comment was in respect of following the “buy a world class player for backup in every position” hypothetical. My point was, whichever way we do this, there will be some that complain – it is simply not possible to cover for all eventualities.

  101. Wembley79- Obviously i’ve never stated that we need world class back up players at every position. I’ve only stated that we need one at defence. And its not only me, but there are many fans who had stated that we needed to buy one in january bcoz we were very short in numbers during that point and we all knew Squillaci wont be a nice solution. And we all were scared of a situation like we’re facing now – where our best defenders are injured and we’ll have to use our fourth choice defender for the most crucial games of our season. This is exactly the type of situation we all wanted to avoid by signing a quality defender.

  102. Wembley79- I think the topic of Dein will be very subjective. For me he was a guy who always wanted only one thing – Arsenal to be the most successful club in the world!! He never acted like a business man, but acted like a true supporter. Yes, its right that he was not in favour of Arsenal moving to Emirates. Believe me, there are many fans who still want us to be in Highbury. I know the advantages of having a new stadium. I can appreciate what it has given us. But it has also brought with it with a handicap bcoz of which we had to be less competitive than our rivals. And lets be honest, we were more competitive before 2006 than after it. Dein knew we’d have a big handicap and may not even sustain qualifying for champions league. Can you believe it that our board was targeting a champions league qualification of once in 4 years during the move to emirates?? (and this was stated by this blog itself a long time ago) Wenger clearly over-achieved with a very weak squad. And thats why I believe that he’s the best manager we can have. And it was definately not his decision to sell players like Henry, Viera and start from the drawing board. I know they were past their prime, but their experience would have been like a treasure for our younger players. But it wasn’t to be and unwillingly he ‘had’ to sell them. I know we had to do it to balance our books and what not, but everyone knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. And to balance the books is not something that Wenger should be concerned about. I know he has taken that responsibility on himself but just think, if was given support from within the board then Wenger would have definately signed someone.

  103. Wembley79- After tonight’s performance, you still say that we didn’t need to buy a quality defender in jan?? Just think, this was just West Brom, we also have to play Spurs, Liverpool, Manu, Stoke and Blackburn wit this same defence.

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