By Tony Attwood
There is a saying, “If you think you are beaten, you are”. And certainly for many Arsenal bloggers that is true.
Fortunately it is never true for Mr Wenger, a man who never knows when he is beaten, and who is therefore our most successful manager in 125 years of history.
For the last fourteen years we have sat at the very top table of the Champions League, something that in the era of Bruce Rioch, George Graham, Don Howe, Terry Neil, Billy Wright and all the rest would have been a wild fanciful dream.
And last night amidst the doom, gloom and rampant negativity of a vast numbers of Arsenal bloggers who have never had the notion of what “winning mentality” ever means, you would have thought we were playing to avoid relegation to the conference.
Szczesny and Jenkinson are hardly household names but I thought they were superb last night. Theo came back from what appeared to be no-mans-land of the Liverpool match, Rosicky too is not a ghost walking, Frimpong is astonishing and certainly is going to be a brilliant player if he isn’t one already, Jack will come back at some time, and we haven’t even glimpsed Ryo and Alex. Gervinho does it in flashes – and his time will come as he gets the hang of the new team. We had 60% of the possession – not bad for an away game in the Champs. We won with 13 shots on target – not bad again.
So we can now settle back on the usual stuff, such as, “His brand of living within-your-means book-keeping is an example to all governments striving to cut spending without undermining the competitiveness of their economies, ” which turned up in a Times’ Leader article – and it was about Arsene Wenger, not John Maynard Keynes.
The piece went on: “Talk about no good deed going unpunished! Arsene Wenger, entering his sixteenth season as manager, has won more trophies for Arsenal than any previous boss of the North London club.
“The flair of his footballers is admired around the world. By discovering young talent he has managed to keep Arsenal in the top four of the Premier League without running up a transfer fee bill the size of Greece’s sovereign debt. And all this while shepherding the club into a new stadium.
“And Wenger’s reward? To be booed and pilloried by Arsenal supporters for not opening his wallet more profligately to buy new players, and to find himself the target of media mutters suggesting that his future at Arsenal may be precarious.”
Of course this is to be expected now that we have revealed that there is not only downright ref bias against Arsenal but also media bias against Arsenal too the papers are trying to pretend it is not them – they are not anti-Arsenal, not a bit of it.
Not only was there that bit in the Times, there was a hilarious piece in the Mirror in which they seemed to suggest that because they once ran the Arsenal Win The World Cup front page after France won the world cup there is no bias. Just go back and look at how the press spent days pointing out that we had not had an unbeaten season with the invincibles because we had been knocked out of the cups if you want to see how snarling the press can be when it comes to Arsenal.
The fact is that the press read the blogs, and they see all the snarling anti-Wengerian stuff that goes on, and so they think, hey this is what the fans think, let’s give them some.
The Mirror got so worked up as to say, “to suggest there’s an agenda against the club is a nonsense,” and of course it is. There’s no agendas because the gutter press doesn’t do agendas. They do mindless attacks and pathetic bias, which like the government in Orwell’s “1984” can change position at a drop of a hat.
In a world in which we have the financial insanities of Chelsea and Man City and the extraordinary world-wide grip of Manchester United which brings in all their money, plus the hidden finance of Real Madrid and the financial suicide of Barcelona, Arsenal and Wenger have defied the odds to still be there, with 14 consecutive years.
Recently I wrote about some of the players who I think could still enter the fray for us this season – ranging from those already with us and about to break through such as Coquelin to the transfers such as Yann M’Vila. Word around France is that the bid for M’Vila is astonishingly large, and could be about to happen.
There’s another thing – with Alex and Ryo both being wingers, where does Theo go? Down the middle could be the answer. The squad is there, it is just going to change around a bit.
Maybe all the bits are falling into place – except those with no winning mentality just don’t know it.