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August 2021

More than the last game: supporting a club is for life

By Walter Broeckx

This season is not the best season we had in the recent history. A few very hard defeats to take on the chin.  Losing one of the best players in the world.  So compared to the last 6 seasons we have had a hard time at moments.

And this is why I think all those people who have been shouting and moaning in the past 4 or 5 years have been so utterly wrong. Yes we didn’t win anything in those years. But we came close on a few occasions and still the moaning was around. This season at some moments I could understand some of the moaning. Yes it was not fun to lose at Old Trafford, yes it was not fun to lose at Milan this week. So if you are hurt by that fine. I also felt hurt after that. But why on earth did some of us moan during the years before when we were in contention for many prices at times. Okay we didn’t win them but at the end of the season/competition/cup only one team can win it.

It would have been great if we would have been the winner but it’s not always that simple to achieve and one small detail can ruin a great run of games. I don’t like to bring it up but the way we lost the Carling cup final in the way we did is just an example on how one mistake cost us the game. So we have been near at times but it just didn’t work.

I know people refer to the Invincibles and in a way that exceptional achievement is something that some of us started to take for granted. History has shown the exceptional nature of that season or that run.  But still some fans want us to reproduce it. For those who have witnessed it I can only say: keep the good memory and treasure it as maybe no other football supporter of any other team in the EPL will ever live to see it again.

People say this is the worst season for a long time. And in a way it looks like that. But then again let me remind you of the season 2005-2006. A lot of the Invincibles were still at Arsenal. And yet at the end of February 2006 we found ourselves in 7th place. Yes that is a 7 my dear readers.  And if it hadn’t been for a better goal difference we could have been in 8th place. We had the same points as West Ham United on that day in February and had played one more game than them.  And in 5th and 6th place in front of us we had… Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers who had played two games less than us.  And in 4th place we had Tottenham. Who had 5 points more than us. We were 5 points away from 4th place.

And yet we had Henry, Gilberto, Lehman, Campbell, Cesc, Pires,   …well if you are a true Gooner you should know the players we had in those days.  And if we compare this to the situation we find ourselves now we can see that we are in 4th position for the moment. This is 3 places better than in the 2005-2006 season around this time.  And we then had  5 points to make up on that 4th placed team.

Am I saying this is a great season? No, because it is not. But we have been in a far worse position and this with even all those world class players I named. Of course I would have loved us to have more points in the PL so far. But now we have 43 points with 25 games played.  In the 2005-2006 season we had 41 points after 27 games played. So we should not be happy with the way the season has gone but maybe a little bit of perspective can be good to have a times.  Oh and if you don’t believe me because some kind of short memory just click on the link and see it with your own eyes.

The fact that after each defeat some fans act as if the world has come to an end is something that makes me wonder when they started to become a supporter of Arsenal.  Was it after we won a title? Or a cup?  And was it because of that win that you thought : O this is a team that wins, so I have to support them? I’m not going to condemn you if this is the case but I think it is something that you have to consider when we lose a game. How bad and painful the defeat might be, there will always be a next game to play. Unless we go broke and have nothing to play for. God forbid it.

But maybe I am a bit privileged about the moment I became an Arsenal supporter.  Maybe because of the first game I have seen live from Arsenal with my own eyes was a defeat. In 1979 I was at Highbury at the old North Bank standing between all those Gooners watching how we lost 0-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves scored early on in the game and Arsenal did all they could to turn it around. But it wasn’t their day. Balls hitting the woodwork, chances being missed inexplicable. I remember a shot rebounding of the post and ending in the arms of the Wolves keeper who just stood there.

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At the end of the game the Gooners went home in disgust. I stood there thinking : how on earth did Arsenal not win this game? And the injustice of this defeat made me love the Arsenal. I felt that this was a team worth to support for the fight they had shown even when it didn’t work out at the end of the game.  I just felt that this was team that deserved my support. So I became a supporter of what now would be called a team of losers. If there would have been an internet like it exists today the moaners would want the manager to be sacked, and half the team should have been sold the very same day.

And I just thought by myself: this was the most exciting experience of my life. Despite the loss. The boys tried but  it didn’t happen. But they won my respect and my support for the rest of my life.

So yes some defeats have hurt me this season. Sometimes it was terrible after a game. But because I started supporting a team of losers all those years ago I know that things can turn around.

For some fans Arsenal is as good or as bad as their last game. Well for me Arsenal never is as bad as their last game. Because when we lose a game I always think back at that day in February 1979 when I was in London for the first time and saw Arsenal lose my first ever game I saw them play.  Arsenal is more to me than just our last game.

Arsenal is the sum of all those games that I have seen since then. Some great games, some miserable games. But I will not write off my team just because we lost our last game. And maybe if all of us could do this we wouldn’t act like angry children after even a terrible and painful defeat.  Just remember there are more games we have played in the past and more game we will play in the future. And try to take them all in account when you think of the club we love. Arsenal is so much more than just the last game we played. So much more…

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122 comments to More than the last game: supporting a club is for life

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Walter and sensible perspective.

  • Legolas

    i love ARSENALLL

  • JH

    Good article and agree it’s not all doom and gloom (club still has huge potential if the right purchases and coaching additions are made), but on the 05/06 comparison, we were doing very well in the Champions League at that time and there wasn’t such frustration at that point as we’d had recent success and still had a team full of stars which the fans still had some hope and faith in. I think even the AKB brigade realise now that the current squad will never achieve anything and things are likely to only get worse unless there’s significant changes.

  • Arvind

    Thanks Walter. Beautifully written. That’s 33 years then. Wow : ). I hope I remain a die hard gooner all my life. Or at least touch your mark..just another 23 years to go then ; )

  • zorr0

    I understand you are trying to keep a sense of perspective, but if you haven’t had sex for 7 years, thinking back to the time you caught a dose 15 years ago is hardly a reason not to now try a new aftershave!!!

  • mj

    Very good article.. I get suprised when I hear some people saying they have been fans for more than 30 years and yet showing no respect or no patience to the manager or players. Either they’re lying or somethings wrong with them. I think in these tough times its very important to be heind the club more than ever.. I understand the dissapointment of some fans and rightly so they have the right to voice their opinion. However I feel that these testing times really show the true loyal fans. It doesn’t mean to be loyal you can’t criticize or say your opinion, but at the end of the day this is our club.. Arsenal for better or worse. If arsenal are champions or 10the place, we have to have the same passion,love and respect to the club we support

  • WalterBroeckx

    I always tell my wife that Arsenal is the oldest love of my live. As in the same year but right at the end December 29 in 1979 I met her for the first time. So she knows she is my second love for live. 😉

  • bob

    Or is it zero (as in none)? Is it that serious?: that only a trophy equals sex? Don’t the pleasures of a build-up count for anything? Or are you only focused on the end result if your experience with the other person to have mattered at all? So it’s not the journey, only the destination that counts? Something to live by, then, eh? 🙂

  • hassam qureshi

    Walter that almost made me cry man.:’|
    That is the kind of article I look for on newsnow as I search for some real support for the greatest club and the greatest manager this club has had,this is the reason I love the!
    The great Arsenal is more than just a club its class and ethics,that’s why I support the club,we supporters should support the club not because of wins but because we support this great club.I became a supporter of the club in 2002 so I am no where near your level but I think that’s what makes me proud is because I saw this club winning everything and when the time comes when the club needs my support I’ll always be here till death parts me…once a gunner always a gunner.well done mate you lifted my morale a lot seeing there are supporters like you 🙂 COYG!

  • steve cole

    Yes i agree with some of what you say , its good to have some perspective , we cant win all the time , sometimes things and maybe luck dont go your way . I too have supported arsenal for well over 35 years now and can think back to lean times when we didnt win anything or even compete for anything and so appreciate the last 23 years years or so . But i think you dont need a crystal ball to tell you where we are heading as far as winning trophys and titles and atracting the worlds best players . Now i would’nt rule anything out like possibly signing the likes of Hazard, goetze and possibly neymar but i would say its highly unlikely . The truth is we can’t go on with this plan , of finding players on the cheap like Van persie , Fabregas , Viera etc , yes its very nice when a player you aquired on the cheap turns into a mega star , but its a really optimistic and unrealistic plan when your now competing with the likes of man utd and man city , not to mention the ac milans and barcelona’s of this world , who spend and invest huge sums every year . If we to just spend the money we made from players sold that would be a start not to mention the millions more we make every year . For a long time i was very proud that we didnt spend stupid amounts of money on overated players or players not fitting of their fee , and that we were a substainable profibable club , but enough is enough . Wenger must admit this procces is not working at all and start buying quality playets at fair market fees after all we pay over fair market prices for game tickets We have progressed along way in the last 35 years and its time we build on everything we have done to get to where we should be . Winning Titles

  • oz gooner

    Hey mate I can beat that 33yrs by another 10, but that doesn’t make me stupid or blind. There are very few positives surrounding our club at the moment, and I honestly believe Arsene has done his dash. He is unable to change his approach strategy or philosophy towards the game, and we all must change as life goes on or we shrivel and die.To say we are in better shape than at a bad time 7 years ago is hardly encouraging.It is time for a clean sweep and we must thank Wenger for taking our great club to a new place and bid him a fond farewell.

  • bob

    Today, now, the Manchester Guardians Daniel Taylor is hosting an Arsene pinata-bashing party called The Sport Blog on the theme that Arsene has “inexplicably and irretrievably” lost his way. It’s an open blog for people to weigh in on. Perhaps after visiting and posting here, UA faithful will pay Taylor a visit and do some keyboard jousting of our own thereabouts lest his/Guardian’s end-times analysis monopolize the day.

  • Zinc

    Love the tone of the articles on this blog and I generally agree. Every day I talk to my fellow gooners and I’m almost the last one standing up for the manager and the team. This is our worst year for some time, Wenger isn’t perfect and has made mistakes but he’s also a top manager who has sustained a level of success the few others could manage on such low player investment (for a top four team). Looking at what we’ve spent on players we’re actually 13th lowest on overall investment since 2006, it’s incredible we’ve consistently performed right at the top level – it’s actually because of Wenger that certain fans have come to have some sense of entitlement and now they’re acting like brats when the chips are actually down.

    I could criticise Wenger all day but I recognise him as a great manager with unique qualities and one capable of creating great teams who play great football, hopefully he can make the required signings this summer, clear out the dead wood and remain our manager for a long time to come, I’ll be gutted if he goes.

  • Jekyll

    The responses you’re seeing aren’t due to us losing our last match, it’s part of a much wider, longer term pattern. Surely you can see that. And yes, supporting Arsenal is for life. Supporting the current manager is not. Learn the difference.

  • gats

    Bloody propoandist tosh. Walter dont think you are some super duper Arsenal fan, and try to belittle anyone that says anythign agasint wenger. You support wenger, not the club, you have actually blurred the lines between what the club is and who wenger is, Wenger is not Arsenal, and Arsenal is not wenger. The club was here 115 years before he came to arsenal and it will eb long here after you and your wenger cult lunatics are gone. I am now 31, and have been supporting Arsenal since I was about 5, dont try tell me because i dotn support wenger or any of his pathetic players, that i am not a real supporter. You ask my mum how much I am pissed when we lose, and she woprobabaly tell you I am the biggets supporter there is.

  • SA Gunner

    To quote the great man himself.

    “If You Eat Caviar Every Day It’s Difficult To Return To Sausages”

    That is exactly what has happened here. Yes I get your context Walter, but how about we take a step or two back before your reference point and look in the face at exactly where we coming from.

    No, the complaints is not anti support or AAA as you like to call it. It is dismay at where we come from and where we are now. Yes there will be an Arsenal FC in 100 years time, this great club cant disappear to a whimper so easily, but I would suggest you do not mistake criticism and dismay at the team performances as being anti the club.

    Its the opposite really, we are saddened to see our beloved being so poor, such a shadow of itself. The man who should be making the changes, learning from past mistakes (Wenger himself always refers to his pedigree when answering us “nobodies”,”arm chair managers”, etc) instead of seeing the same sad story unfold at the same time each year.

    This is the 7th year now, hopefully as in the Bible its our last year of “bad luck”.

  • GoonerHOOT

    Great Article

  • GoonerHOOT

    have a look at this link and get involved if you want change.

  • Mahdain

    verw nice article walter…i really what is wrong with some of our supposed fans.. they say they love our club and yet hope and pray we do bad so they could achieve their agenda of getting wenger out..they have absolutely ZERO respect to wenger calling him all sorts of names forgetting without wenger arsenal wouldnt be where its is the guy the respect he deserves

  • Alan

    Most gooners can live with a loss but what they can not live with is a team that is gutless and never seems to show any heart or look like there trying!
    Like usaid about your famous wolves defeat the team had passion and tried everything these days at arsenal the team shows no passion get payed a fortune it costs us a fortune to follow and watch them to c the same poor performances week after week and don’t forget we’re the dearest ticket in football…….

  • Walter, I can beat you in one respect, that being my first game that decided my fate was in 1955 at Highbury at the age of nine.
    That was it of course. Standing with another 60,000 plus crowd my life was decided.
    The North Bank..Halftime results in the corners of the ground,and paying at the turnstiles for each match.
    This was the time when S@u@s were the top club and it was so hard to take the bragging from their supporters.
    I remember one match against Blackpool when there were approx. 14,000 supporters in the ground and you could walk from the north bank to every part of the ground.
    Then in 1971 the world was turned upside down as we did the double under Bertie Mee and the world was our oyster…until he broke the team up too early.
    Go forward to George Graham and it was great to be the most hated team in the leagoe…1nil to the Arsenal and boring boring arsenal sung at every game was so incredible it still makes my hair stand on end thinking about it.
    But the thing George could not do was let the players express themselves was it? Rocky and Charlie Nicholas just to name two who were let go under his style of managment.
    Then another Arsenal miracle happened..Arsene who?? came along to our club.
    Suddenly the booze culture was out and we had athletes destroying everything in our path!! Man what wonderful, wonderful timeswith players like Bergkamp,Vieria,Petit,Anelka etc etc joining the best defence ever seen in the history of english football (check it out gooners).
    We loved it and lauded the manager who couldnt do a thing wrong…wonderful times.
    We had to move as Highbury wasnt big enough so enter the Emirates and a new breed of supporters.
    They are a product of todays society..I want it and I want it now and if you cant do it immediately then go.
    Arsenal Football Club was never built on the ideals of this type of supporter. Being an Arsenal fan meant “supporting through thick and thin”. Its a marriage vow “for better or poorer in sickness and in health till death do us part”
    If you want a divrce then get a new go and support another team as we dont need you!!
    When you read bloggers like Adam Kemp and Danny Griffiths you hang your head in shame (I really dont believe they are gooners).
    Then there is Adrian Durham on talk sport with his pure bile. But this has always been the story if you are a gooner because no one likes a club that has history, tradition, style and unending support.
    At the moment Arsene and the club have real problems, we can all see that. But that is when true gooners rise above the rest and show the world who we are.
    Sorry that I have gone on for so long, I guess these new supporters will be saying “silly old bugger”, but I have seen the rise and rise of the greatest club in the world and I am proud to call myself a real gooner.
    In Arsenal I trust.

  • Wenger out Now

    There is a new name to the AKBs….Mental illness.

    They go around all day shouting “In Arsene we trust” While Wenger takes the club into freefall, until the nice nurse comes with they’re medication

  • Mickess

    ‘And I just thought by myself: this was the most exciting experience of my life. Despite the loss. The boys tried but it didn’t happen. But they won my respect and my support for the rest of my life’

    Walter I love your article but sometimes you miss the point about what is happening now. I have supported Arsenal since 1969 am a season ticket holder and was priveledged to pay good money to see the Invincibles. I have seen some dire performances in my time but as you say about your first match at least they tried! That is what is wrong with the present team; They do not seem to try enough. I was at the San Siro this week and have been to 3 away european matches this season so I am not one of your armchair supporters. The disappointing thing is the lack of effort as well as the negative and ineffectual passing. Can anyone tell me why Arsene still retains the same coaching staff he had when he came. It seems to me that we need fresh ideas but we seem to keep playing the same way. Other clubs know this and we are easy to beat. You dont find Sir Alex with the same backroom staff he had 15 years ago do you? He regularly changes things to keep everyone on their toes. It’s been said that Arsene surrounds himself with ‘Yes Men’ and I must admit I’m beginning to believe it. I like Arsene and am eternally grateful for what he’s done for our club but if he can’t or won’t change things surely it’s time for him to go.
    Ok rant over. I will be there this weekend as usual amd with a positive attitude about the game (referee permitting) and look forward to a victory against the unmentionables from N17.

  • Mahdain

    At times i really think to myself and say ok lets satisfy the AAA agenda and get rid of wenger and maybe after we get another rioch who will turn us into shambles they’ll see the true value of wenger but then how can i wish harm befall my club? U see unlike some people i love Arsenal too much to hope something bad happens to us so that i can achieve my agenda

  • Wenger out Now

    Mahdain, what are you on about. You don’t think the last 4 years have been a shambles and getting worse with each week that passess?

    We would not lose 8.2 at OT if rioch was the manager this season. Or 4 0 to a very avarage Milan team. 4.3 at Blackburn was not a shamles was it…..2 1 fulham, 3 2 Swansea….I could go on and on and on……

  • steve cole

    Yes i think many will be gutted if he goes , but he would only have himself to blame , We are not mindless fans without knowledge , yes its true we have never managed a team and the pressures thst come with such a postion but come on its not that hard to figure out what an already top team needs to get much closer to the promise land ( and by the way i think i speak for most arsenal fans when i say we should be winning something every year or atleast coming very close ) Thats what we expect . When the season tickets holders heard their tickets prices were going up to top the premier leauge once again , they paid it , that was what the board expected of them . Success is what they expect in return .( or atleast something that resembles it ) Not these pathetic excuses that we cant compete with the top teams
    We use to think that this stadium move was so we could compete with the big boys , what hsppened to that , we use to think the premiership title was something we aspired to win every year now we are lucky to even got 4 th what happened there . And we use to think we could compete in tne champions leauge every year and perhaps win it , Now we are lucky if we even qualify , We use to dominate spurs certainly for the last 20 years , what happened there . Ok we tried this method of never. spending enough , with the exception of the ox ( 18 year old 12-15 m ) wow we actualy spent some big money on a quality player all be it a teenager and it worked , how about spending 25 m on a quality 22-23 year old msybe that might work for us to also . You see it not that difficult . Thats why we are so frustrated . With Wengers eye for talent and a ( realistic ) transfer budget spent wisely on 4 or 5 players Wenger could make this proud team great again , get rid of these under performing players , skill lachi 2 m doujoroo 3 m bentner 7 m denilson 3 m diaby 4 m park 3 m alumina 1 m walcott 15,m chamack 7 m , vela 5 m , that around 50 m to add the money we already have , please !!!!

  • DC

    @Steve Cole,
    Now why is it people always think that, you can’t nurture a world class player anymore if you are a so-called “rich club” but you have to go out and buy them? In doing so, are you not just blowing more air into the nonsensical bubble that is football finances? A bubble that is inevitably destined to deflate!
    When people say, “that’s the going rate for that type of player”, why should it be? Who says you have to pay that? Would you pay more than you have to if you have other options and it was your own money? I don’t think so!
    Just count how many players’ careers Arsene has nurtured into world-class and consider just how ridiculous it is to buy when you can do that!
    Long after Arsene has gone and the Arsenal project has be fully completed, Arsenal will continue to nurture world-class players and world-class teams! The clubs that cannot do it alone wil still come a knocking but only to take those that will be surplus to our requirements for a very exorbitant fee! So much for their short-term thinking! Lol! 🙂

  • steve cole

    Im sorry Stan Kronke i didnt knew you actualy cared , lol

  • DC

    Patience & Understanding are key character traits for ANY fan, nevermind Arsenal’s, to have at such difficult times; which, by the way in the grand scheme of things, is only temporary in our case!
    Even up to 10 years is not a long time to wait for the massive changes that our club has gone through and does anyone really think that the Spuds would ever be able to achieve the same as we have with their proposed stadium redevelopment; I think not in any way whatsoever!

  • Lee

    Great read.Thank you

  • per-arne

    i like the article Walter, but must defend me and the other suporters who are having doubt about what is going on in our beloved club.. if you se all these questions as critic of the club, i feel that you are wrong… i mean that we are fans and we support our team and club in many ways.. with money and other engagement. so if “we supposed fans” are asking questions, i think we are in title to do that..
    i think that it is not this season alone who makes us cry in frustration but the way things has been going for the last 4-5 years.. we are dropping behind in the league and our new goal is to fight for the 4th place, who we maybe not deserve anymoore. i think so many things are wrong at the club… we lost fabregas and nasri and that made the difference from last season,, we then knew that with them ore the likes of them in the midfield we could still compete.. but when you take a look at who is replacing them i feel we are downsizing our team in every place on the pitch.. everybody is blaming the defence, but i feel that when sagna and gibbs is back we have a good defence..vermalen and kochielny are two of the best in the league in my opinion, but we loose our games in the midfield.. song ramsey and arteta are three of a kind and no matter how maney balls they intercept it do no good when those three players are giving the ball away with a bad cross and by playing the ball into the legs of our oponents. uor team is trained to make high speed up when we win the ball. so when our sidebacks are hurrying forward to make our oponents outnumbered we loose the ball in the midfield and get outnmubered ourselfes.
    all arsenal fans have big respect for AW but we now feel that no major changes are beeing made for the better of our club.. we need to spend moore to acheve that,, all other clubs with ambition are doing that while we are holding back so that we can by cheaper players without the right qualitys now. but rather prospect of the future… well sorry to say so but while we wait for those youngsters to grow up, we loose to many experianced players. so to what i think is our biggest problem… injuries….. why do our players have so many and so seriouse injuries?? is there something wrong in our training or maybe in our physio team? i hawe seen that after gary lewin left we have much higher rate of injuries with much longer average absence of our players… can you tell me why?
    if we dont change our policy i think the club looses the ability to get good experianced players to sign for arsenal and we are stuck by being a youngster development club for the future barcelona players..

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great article, well put… supporting Arsenal is an experience of collective events, some highs, some lows, ecstacy and frustration all come into it.
    This season has not gone well, it did not start well and though the AAA will question the ambition, top 4 was always going to be the realistic aim, the prime aim. TBH, I was quite surprised we even qualified for the CL this summer with all going on, but qualify they did, but at a cost in the following games. We can still make the top 4, but a few less injuries can help.
    There are clearly things wrong,is Wenger willing to spend? is he given money to spend? is the wage cap harming us? why do we get so many injuries, can the training regime be looked at? does Wenger get on with IG? is Stan doing anything, other than trying to buy the Dodgers…will he sell us to the highest bidder to get them? or will he put us in debt to buy them? are players exasperated with a lack of defensive coaching? will Steve Bould take his place alongside Wenger on his terms? will Wenger leave and who will replace him? will RVP/Song / Theo and many others stay/ will we sign Pololski/M Suarez and about 50 others? All these issues are out there in the press on this very day. I do not know the answer to any of this but it will all come out in the wash in the next few months. I like many, while keeping things in perspective, do have concerns, something just seems a bit not quite right. But whatever it is, I am sure it can be put right unless someone does something stupid. If Wenger needs managing or help, manage him, help him. If we need more work on defence, Steve Bould is surely your man. Wage cap – yes, we can up wages of the elite, maybe reduce wages of the up and coming and still keep a balance. sounds easy ok…too easy, but my point, there are solutions, as a club, we should now be in a very good position…unless someone does something stupid….
    We could be at a crossroads. Seems to me Wenger is best working with the brilliant young and the elite. I am not so sure he is so good with a 30 year old a bit out of form or a 21 year old apparently not pulling his weight. Other managers may have to skills to deal with such players, and improve them, I do not believe Wenger always does, Ray Parlour has mentioned on many occasions,it is sink or swim at AFC. Nor is Wenger any good at getting cloggers and journeymen to run through brick walls for him, as many of the typical British managers are. He is just not interested or motivated by such players, leave them to Moyes, MON, Pulis or even in some cases,Arry. I know there are games where such players could help, yesterday was maybe one of them, but such players just are not Wengers taste. My point, if the club want Wenger as manager, give him the elite, and give him the resources to at least stand a chance of keeping them. I would love to hear Wengers take on the Nasri situation. That may be expensive, but if Wenger is to thrive, let it happen. He has done well on a budget, he may even want to keep on a budget, but developing players to the elite, then losing them is as pointless… at this stage of the clubs development, as it is frustrating. We are not to become a finishing school.Lets see the club take a tink peek at the wage structure in a way that will not cause harm. In the meantime, back this team, top 4 is a very realistic aim, the summer can take care of itself

  • steve cole

    DC You have very good points , but what is park doing , is that an example of wengers nuturing or Chamack who is strugling with no confidence , he started very well and i thoght at the time was just what we needed but has since gone into a massive slump , if wenger is to buy ( ok free transfer ) players like him in my opion a very usefull specialist player but not top notch talent , wenger or his staff needs the abilty to motivate these players and get them up for the games in hand ( these players do not have the raw talent alone to rise out of their slumps ) so why sign them in the first place . Maybe a team motivater is required , like they do in the states with many sport franchises .

  • Mahdain

    the way some of our react is like as if we are the first team to go on a trophyless run..what is 7yrs? man united yes man utd had a 20+ yrs drought and look where they are now… and if thats not enough the all conquering mighty barca themselves went 7yrs without anything and just see where they are..bad phases happen to every club..i just wish our modern day fans would understand that and just not bite everything sky feeds them

  • Mahdain

    atm what we need is SUPPORTING the matter what player you want us to buy its february and transfer window does not open till summer then why not support what we have? to quote frimpong when he was owning piers morgan yesterday “Well in football u have bad and good times the LOYAL fans are the one that remember the Good times And wait for More.”

  • ak47

    i think 7am’s fog metaphor sums up the currant situation quite well. i dont want wenger to go yet…….do i? no not yet, with the players he has he has done very well, but ultimately its gonna be about 4th spot unless his alleged tied hands are unbound. this team is good enough to make it but i dont think as a unit they have the right attitude.

    i thought about what makes a team a great team and it definitely a state of mind thing. i reasoned that this team has a horrid ratio of wusses. my theory is based on combat, a principle we should excel in given our name. they, who ever they are say that the best solders usually come from a poor background, ghetto etc… because it implants an abnormal competitive will and determination. these are the people that if you were in a bar and it poo somehow got caught in the ceiling fan you would want them beside you.

    my point is its no different on the pitch. if i was in a bar and it kicked off who would i want out of the arsenal currant squad backing me up?

    a few stand out like jack and robbing but not many. add to that our annual injuries and lack of consistency and quality in certain areas and your just asking for trouble.

    why didnt sagna throw his body in front of richardsons shot? he just stuck out a lame leg which is uncharacteristic for him which is a bit worrying. once our best players cant be arsed because their surrounded by mediocrity the slop will start to get vertical.

  • gats

    Mhadain you idiot, Man utd were never as big as arsenal in terms of league titles until 1992. aArsenhave always been 1 or 2 or 3 in terms of league titles. So dotn start about man utd. Ferguson brought them from bloody obscurity, and the majory of their titles were won under him. The fis he has se a standard of neevr finishing for anything less than number 1. Even with the fact prior to 1992, they were not number 1, and were not even in the title scene for over 20 years. Sorrydont bring up man tud. Because ferguson dosnt settle for anything less than number 1. Why as an Arsenal fan should I settle for fourth?, when we have a history of actually being until 1972 the number 1 team in this country in terms of league titles, and unti1 1992 still the number 2 team in terms of titles. Am I no longer allowed to wish my team challenges for trophys, or do all you AKB’s think that Arsenals history started under wenger, and that we are only allowed to finish 4th? Am I not allowed to think we should eb challenging for titles given Arsenals history of actually being number 1 and 2 in terms of titles, or is that not allowed any longer under Wengers cult followers?, am I as a fan notllowed to show my frustration at players that cannot defend to save their lives, dont ever have shots, and pass and pass sideways constantly?, am I not allowed to vent my frustartion at the board, wenger and players, while we as fans pay the highest ticket prices in the country and in euam i as a fan not allowed to think that the new stadium would allow us to compete for the very best players in the word, which wenger and the board spouted for years prior to the stadium being built, am I as a fan not allowed to as a fan feel frsutrated at a manager that gives contracts to players that dont even play for months and years IE dIABY, ROSICKY, djourou, etc etc. Or are only Wenger cult followers allowed to say anythign about Arsenal, anthe rest of us have to turn the other cheek?

  • gats

    Also Mahdain I have been an arsenal supporter all my life, so dont bloody try to twist things as if I dont support wenger I am not a real supporter. So dont try to make anyone that dosnt support wenger as not a real supporter, you asshole I love Arsenal, I dont love Wenger, maybe you should read that again. I love Arsenal the CLUB. NOT WENGER, NOT PHW, NOT KROENKE, NOT GAZIDIANOT YOU WENGER CULT FOLLOWERS, AND NOT PLAYERS THAT TAKE 80K+ a week to get injured 24/7 and give piss poor performances week in and week out.

  • Anne


    Good points. And that Frimpong on twitter link that you left was so awesome that I’m linking to it again here:!/Frimpong26AFC

    Personally, I don’t see why a not-so-great but also far from terrible season (up to this point) is such a cause for “doom and gloom.”

    In my experience, this is just part of following a sports team. And during the bad moments (although what’s happening to Arsenal now isn’t even a “bad” moment in the larder sense), you shrug it off and you’re still smiling at the end of the day. And of course, you still support the team.

    Why the “crisis?” It seems so strange to me.

  • Anne

    “larger sense” not “larder sense” 🙂

  • Anne


    I’m not so good at twitter. Is there any way that I can pull up that whole conversation and read it as it unfolded? Thanks.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for that link Anne, Frimpong! Great stuff! Cannot wait to see him back in our team. And Jack too, he has a similar attitude.
    Piers is a complete Feckwit, he has become possessed by the bottom feeding elements of the UK media.
    Hope he heeds Frims advice and stays away

  • Adam

    @Walter, Nice article. I remember back in the early 80s (I think) Arsenal lost a cup match to lower league opposition, I threw a wobbly and supported Everton for a couple of weeks. “Still feel guilty about that”. But my only consolation is “I was only a kid”.

  • Strus

    These last 3 fixtures are just bad coincidence.
    Arsenal is not used to win away cup matches against Premier League competition. (3 wins in 13 lately)
    Arsenal do not win often after away CL match.
    Last time Arsenal won away in cup phase of CL 4 yars ago.
    CL cup away matches in recent years:
    2011 loss to barcelona
    2010 losses to Porto and Barcelona
    2009 loss to Roma, draw at Villareal, loss at MU
    2008 win over Milan, loss to Liverpool
    2007 loss to PSV
    1-1-7 record

    I wasn’t upset by Sunderland defeat. I was more afraid of state the pitch and the referee.
    I was little upset by the Milan defeat. That was too easy for them!
    It didn’t helped that our 2 most brilliant midfielders are long term injured, so the rest is already overplayed.

    Matches against S***s, Liverpool and Newcastle will show the real picture and strength(or weakness) of current squad.

  • Jim

    Good article Walter. And you rightly pointed out that in the past we have made remarkable comebacks as in 2005-06.

    But back I wasn’t worried because then we had those Invincibles, players who wore the Gunner’s crest proudly on their hearts and were passionate and considered it a privilege to play for us. Plus, there’s no doubting their skill or leadership. Hence, we expected them to fight on and secure 4th and there was no such panic and division among fans and neither this AAA vs AKB nonsense.
    But in current scenario, too many injuries have broken us down, and quite a few players are very inconsistent and lack the pedigree to play for us. Many players no longer display the same loyalty as that of 2005 batch and would dump us for some rich club (read the Nasri types). Also the board room scenario is unclear. And in spite of being the 5th richest club, we are not able to compete financially with top clubs, when clearly money is major force in football these days. Hence in such a scenario, a section of fans including myself are increasingly unsure of our ability to get 4th, forget winning anything. But i don’t feel sacking Wenger now is the solution, it’ll make it worse. However, I do want a major clearout in summer as Wenger has hinted at. Anyways have a great night, and hopefully we will fight on and get that coveted 4th spot and before that, beat spuds next week.

  • Jim

    Good article Walter. And you rightly pointed out that in the past we have made remarkable comebacks as in 2005-06.

    But back I wasn’t worried because then we had those Invincibles, players who wore the Gunner’s crest proudly on their hearts and were passionate and considered it a privilege to play for us. Plus, there’s no doubting their skill or leadership. Hence, we expected them to fight on and secure 4th and there was no such panic and division among fans and neither this AAA vs AKB nonsense.
    But in current scenario, too many injuries, inconsistent performances and lack of loyalty amongst some players is seen. Also the board room scenario is unclear. And in spite of being the 5th richest club, we are not able to compete financially with top clubs, when clearly money is major force in football these days. Hence in such a scenario, a section of fans including myself are increasingly unsure of our ability to get 4th, forget winning anything. But i don’t feel sacking Wenger now is the solution, it’ll make it worse. However, I do want a major clearout in summer as Wenger has hinted at. Anyways have a great night, and hopefully we will fight on and get that coveted 4th spot and before that, beat spuds next week.

  • Doublegooner


    Are you based in the UK ?

  • sperez

    One thing is sure. Reading these comments here i’m under the impression the Wenger was successful in lowering the fans’ expectations.Some people love to say that ‘4th spot is a trophy ‘cos Arsenal cannot compete with the likes of Chelsea, City, ManU, Real Madrid’. However, teams like Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland can compete with Arsenal. Arsenal’s wage bill is higher than AC Milan’s but the Gunners were humiliated by the Rossoneri.The supposed ‘lack of money at the club’ excuse is no longer acceptable. Arsenal are a big club and their supporters deserve better than this. Set the bar at a high standard and don’t accept mediocrity.

  • DC

    @Steve Cole,
    Wrt Park, I have to admit that that was a very strange signing so we’ll have to wait until the summer and pre-season to see if he becomes part of a player swap with Lille or builds-up in pre-season!
    Wrt Chamahk, I truly believe that he will become good once he gets his mojo back and settles into life in Britsin and the Ea

  • DC

    @Steve Cole,
    Wrt Park, I have to admit that that was a very strange signing so we’ll have to wait until the summer and pre-season to see if he becomes part of a player swap with Lille for Hazard or builds himself up in pre-season!
    Wrt Chamakh, I truly believe that he will become good again once he gets his mojo back and fully settles into life in Britain and the EPL.
    Whilst many are wishing Wenger to leave, the usual legends that are worth listening to are still very much behind Arsene and it is up to Kroenke and the board to put-up or shut-up in good time during the summer transfer window! Here’s a link to Nigel Winterburn’s take on proceedings.

  • DC

    From most of the comments on the recent articles on this blog, there is a more obvious divide emerging between those fans that discovered our club before Arsene took over and those that did so after he arrived.
    I’m not implying that any fan’s view is more worthy but it might be helpful if those that have discovered our wonderful club during Arsene Wenger’s era appreciate with more empathy and understanding why many of those that were Gooners before he came to the club might be more frustrated and angry!
    Aside from Walter, I get the impression that most contributors who started their support from abroad in their home countries, only know of Arsenal FC under Arsene Wenger? Am I right or wrong in that assumption or am I generalising? If I am, i apologise.

  • Doublegooner


    thats a very good & valid question.

    With respect, many of the overseas ‘new’ fans have no idea what supporting the club over decades means. Also, many may come from countries where it is still regarded as disrepectful to criticise an elder or someone who has been succesful irrespective of whether changes have occured or that person now makes mistakes.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t take them all seriously, it’s like when I see tourist fans now getting into the ground some somehow getting away tickets constantly taking pictures & videos like their seeing the fucking London Eye !

    If I went to another country & just latched onto a local team & started criticising the local fans that they are disloyal or not real fans because they are venting their frustrations over the way the club is run, I’d expect a major verbal or more !

  • bjtgooner


    In your last comment you make quite a profound statement: –

    “I’m not implying that any fan’s view is more worthy but it might be helpful if those that have discovered our wonderful club during Arsene Wenger’s era appreciate with more empathy and understanding why many of those that were Gooners before he came to the club might be more frustrated and angry!”

    To aid our understanding of your point could you explain why long term gooners are more frustrated and angry than newer converts. I am not trying to attack your point of view, just trying to understand what you mean.

    In case you misunderstand my reason for the request and think I am a new fan, or in case Doublegooner thinks I am from overseas, please note I have been an Arsenal fan since the days of a young Pat Rice and further, I warmly welcome fellow fans from all round the globe – as all of us should.

  • bob

    Doublegooner, (Now comes the litmus test of this True Fan.) First you wield the “are you a council diversity officer” at me. Now it’s “are you based in the UK?” at Mahdain. So let me ask you Doublegooner: Are you pure? Are you Joey Barton? Do Moseley posters adorn your bedroom walls? Is your no-one-listened-to-me-for-five years denunciations of Le Prof based on him being Johnny Foreigner? Is your rumor-mongering about the unnamed player you so courageously trawled at us as a traitor-in-the-ranks purely about football? Is your Arsene Out campaign about football only? You might be accurate in some of your football considerations, fine; even a broken clock is right twice a day. But your swipes at people here on a non-football basis are touching a line that you customarily may cross when you are not as public as this. But you are not as invisible as you may think, mate. You’ve exposed something you may not have wanted to with your pointed questions. Time to put back the sewer lid and give it a rest.

  • bob

    p.s. Oh, would you like to translate “overseas ‘new’ fans” so that the millions of passionate Arsenal followers worldwide can understand you better?

  • bjtgooner


    Kindly read below a paragraph from your 12.12 post 19 Feb to the title “Watching the Arsenal on ITV today”: –

    “I will never allow anyone to say to me’ I am not a real fan’ or go & support that lot or any whoever, especially coming from some overseas idiot who only started supporting the club when Wenger arrived.”

    Kindly explain what you mean by “some overseas idiot”

  • DC

    I do understand your deep frustration as a long-standing supporter but it’s very important that you do not personalise or portray the current diversity of feelings of our club’s situation as an us against “Johnny Foreigner” issue.
    Many Anti-Arsenal individuals and institutions already like to portray our club (due to its foreign playing staff, style of play, etc.) as non-English and it would be utterly unacceptable and contemptible if we fans became that divisive amongst ourselves for the same xenophobic reasons!
    Since I was a small boy, Arsenal FC has always been an inclusive, multi-cultural club and it is fundamental and unequivocal that we continue to take the lead in that area of our society, as we are attempting to do in so much else of the footballing world. Try not to bring nationality, age, sex, or any form of discrimination into your arguments as that is precisely what the Anti-Arsenal set want us to potentiate so we enter their disgusting world of the “little Englander” mentality!

    I cannot speak for all long-standing Gooners, but from what I have gleaned and from my very own point of view, the frustration eminates from seeing a recurring level of poor performance and lack of desire, regardless of the technical ability of the player, that is not equatable to the very high standards of the club. Supporting Arsenal FC is akin to belonging to a top tribe and a major religion, and the longer you have been worshipping or been a member of that powerful group, you interpret your affiliation and contribution to it as more significant as you have already given more of yourself to the cause. What’s more, this is further heightened if your support was inherited and passed down by your father, and your father’s father.

    Furthermore, Arsenal has never been a club that sold it’s best players the way it has been doing over the past few years; but whenever it did in the past, it used to always be able to replace them with the perceived equal quality. Also, the monies paid to the current players that are seen as sub-standard, are not being identified as value for money relative to what has been there before for far less money; and from a club that now reputes to be financially prudent.

    Both sets of us supporters, pre- and post- Arsene Wenger, have been spoilt as we have only experienced relatively short periods of non-success. However, this particular period we are currently enduring has gone on for longer than most can truly understand when what they see and keep being told by their own club doesn’t equate with it. For example, when the club say that money is be available for newer players, why is it not spent but further put onto the wages of sub-standard players that would have been long sold in the past?!

    The pre-Arsene supporters do also love Arsene for what he has done for our club as he has achieved much success on the pitch in the past, and has moved the club onto the highest echelons of footballing excellence off the pitch with a new stadium, training facility, etc. However, with all that said, they now need to see that same excellence on the pitch too! Another important factor is that the pre-Arsene supporters have experienced success under other managers; so as far as they are concerned, another good manager would be able to bring back those glory days if Arsene cannot do it now as that has always happened in the past.

  • Anne


    “Am I right or wrong in that assumption or am I generalising? If I am, i apologise.”

    I believe that you’re generalizing. And I also see little evidentiary basis for the implication that older, English Arsenal fans are less likely to support Arsene Wenger.

  • Kentetsu

    Is it surprising that the majority of the overseas supporters started supporting Arsenal during Wenger’s reign? Of course not! The globalisation of sport is only something of the past twenty years.

    When I was a little kid in the Netherlands, all the football there was on TV was the Dutch competition. Only during the nineties did they start to show some highlights of the Italian and Spanish league, and only late at night. It took until the late nineties before the Premier League got any presence in the Netherlands, a country right across the North Sea. Until then, all I got to see of English football was in any of the European leagues if an English team was playing a Dutch team.

    Yes, I am an Arsenal supporter from about the time when they were doing very well, but in fact I have only become a very passionate supporter in the past three, four years during a time when they did not reach the great heights. Only in 2009 did I become a member, despite the likelyhood of visiting a match any time soon close to zero. But out of my love for Arsenal, I want to be an offical member, regardless of whether they win anything or not (although I prefer they do, obviously).

    In short, don’t tell me off for not being a true Arsenal supporter, because I have not supported the club long enough. Just like anybody else here, I feel the pain after a shocking defeat and the immense pleasure from a great performance.

  • Kentetsu

    In supporting the club, I support everything that makes the club: the players, the managers, the board, etc. I suppose they all want the best for the club, which is sustainability and success on the pitch.

    The vision of the manager and the board on what is best for the club may not coincide with our ideas, but then again, we do not have full insight information into the running of the club. There are many aspects they have to take into account of which we are not even aware. One example that was covered on Untold before is attracting players. Just because the club is willing to pay top dollar for a certain player still does not mean he will come to Arsenal. There are many factors to take into account. Likewise, the exit of players is not just a case of the club opening the doors and wishing them a good future. It’s very simplistic to blame the board and manager for both.

    Blaming the staff for the number of injuries is also simplistic. Is it really the fault of the medical staff that four Arsenal players got injured during two matches against Sunderland? With that state of the pitch?

    Anyway, don’t just blame anyone and everyone for the disappointing results. Yes, maybe some things could change for the better, but I believe that the club wants better for Arsenal as well than struggling for fourth, out of the League Cup, out of the FA Cup and – barring a miracle – out of the Champions League.

  • bob

    Well said. Either by intention or because he can’t help himself, Doublegooner’s tribalism is divisive and destructive of the principled conversation that we can be having, and in many ways have been having. Dealing with his hurts and wounds should not become the guiding light of this worthwhile conversation. In the name of being the True Supporter, his points of view are exclusionary and worse.

  • FURK

    walter i am your biggest fan,whenever i am feeling down after a match i read your article it lifts me up,wish all fans could be like you,i guess the problem nowadays with people is that they want to have everything,really wish that one day i could say that i have supported arsenal for 33 years

  • Anne

    @Kentetsu, bob, DC, doublegooner:

    Personally, I’ve enjoyed Arsenal’s football for years. Ever since I started following football, I’ve thought that Arsenal’s football was the only football in the EPL worth watching.

    However, the one thing that inspired me to devote so much of my unpaid time to researching and writing about Arsenal was not any kind of Arsenal “victory” or “invincibles” season.

    Rather, it was Arsenal’s 4-4 “draw” against Newcastle last year. Why do you think that was? And that’s a serious question, particularly to you doublegooner. Take your best guess as to why that particular match inspired me to take a more active interest in Arsenal.

    Also, does that somehow make me an inferior quality fan in your eyes?

  • Asif

    Walter…thanks for your words! Whenever the club loses or is doing badly, I turn to your words and find solace in them. Thanks for putting things in perspective…to all the doomsday sayers, I would just like to say that this shall pass too! Arsene took a gamble which did not pay off and had it paid off then we would have all been going gaga over the genius of the man.

    To all the people who are trying to divide the Arsenal fan base on the lines of nationality or reasons for supporting the club let me just explain it to you that I started supporting Arsenal for the football it plays, most beautiful and attractive! Its a club you fall in love with and love has no reason. I am from India and have never been to the Emirates but that will be my pilgrimage and I will take pictures – a whole lot of them!!! To all those who get to the stadium to support the club, though I must appreciate the effort that it takes to get there but then if there was a way I could make it to the stadium week in and week out…I would have done it too – without much fuss!

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Can I suggest that AST carry out a comprehensive survey of 100,000 Arsenal supporters and ask two simple questions:

    1. How much have you spent on average the past 5 years supporting Arsenal?
    2. What is your position on the club and the manager?

    What is critical is to determine whether those who spend more money are more dissatisfied.

    Because if they are, they should be listened to more………

  • Mahdain

    @doublegooner here we go with the nationality card..just so you know no im not from the uk but that doesnt make my opinion of the club i love without any ties whatsoever less valid than you “pure” you know at what times the games are shown here? do you know how much i spend on cable subscription just to see arsenal play? do you know how much money i spend on merchandises? oh that doesnt matter doesnt it? just because i cant come and see my club play week in week out doesnt make me any less of supporter than you and nor will i let you question my love for this club..i want the best for it same way like every other fan around the world

  • Arvind

    @Rhys: Assuming we take an arbitrary number of 1000 people who support Arsenal..I guess it’ll be the ones who are in England and buy tickets who have spent the most. Lets say that’s 250 people. The remaining 3/4th are most likely outside England. Out of that you’ll have another 100 from Europe who travel to games ooccasionally and another say 50 from everywhere else.

    The remaining 600 don’t spend much at all. Like me. I’ve rarely spent anything on Arsenal. The point though is..I don’t have to. It wasn’t a contract I signed with AFC..I will spend so much; only then I qualify to be a fan. I’m not too sure AFC would demand that of anyone either; even if they could.

    My point being: If there was an agreement in place about money spent being proportional to how BIG a fan you are..then your argument is valid. Otherwise it cant be taken seriously…as yours is just one more among the millions of opinions out there.

  • Mahdain

    @rhys so you are saying just because i cant spend more money on my club than i already have then my opinion is less valid? trust me if i was living in england i would do my best to attend the matches week in week out and its funny you mention AST because its full of arrogant negative jerks who think they are the voice of the fans

  • Mahdain

    and im sorry to any AST member here but im not just saying that without reason..i have encountered a lot of em on twitter and trust me they think only their opinions are valid and its a must that they should be followed… AAAs at their best

  • Mahdain

    @Arvind well put and also just because some of us cant make it to the stadium doesnt mean we are less passionate about Arsenal..

  • Pat

    Thanks Walter for another great article.
    Thanks Kentetsu and others for well founded comments.
    Where would this web site be without its overseas contributors? And that ‘s not to belittle the British ones – those who talk sense anyway.
    It is sad to see narrow nationalism rear its ugly head on this site. It’s a dangerous line in a dangerous world.
    We are all Arsenal fans which ought to unite us.
    I was a fan under George Graham. I stood up for ‘One nil to the Arsenal!’
    But I believe Arsene Wenger has brought us so much more.
    He believes football should be beautiful and fans should be able to enjoy it.
    He believes in nurturing young talent and has shown he is top class at doing this.
    He says what should matter is the player not the passport.
    These are principles to treasure.
    It is not surprising that he cannot always achieve what he aims for. First, football is not something where you can always determine the outcome in advance. Second, he is not in control of all the factors. Third, we live in a corrupt society where money talks.
    Still, the aims are the right ones.

  • Sammy

    “More than the last game: supporting a club is for life”. Well said. And fully agree with you and believe every bit of it.

    But you guys at “Untold Wenger” are deluded to think that supporting the club is the same as supporting the manager. No doubt Wenger has done great things for the club, and if he leaves today, he would perhaps still be the greatest manager in all time. But the past 7 years have been barren where the squad has progressively regressed. Wenger has failed to address simple shortcomings, and has no one else but himself to blame. He needs to change is ways, or leave the club for fresh ideas. I have no shame in saying that, and that doesn’t make me “anti-arsenal” regardless of what you deluded guys at “Untold Wenger” seem to think!

  • bob

    You write AW “has no one else but himself to blame” for AFC’s problems. I’d translate that as you have no one else to blame but AW, as if that means something. Your heart may be all-Arsenal; but you provide no analysis why – just a Spasm of cliche and the label “barren” Thanks for the knowledge.

  • bob

    I feel no common ground with Doublegooner.

  • DC

    Very well put and I fully concur with your comment!

    If you want palpable evidence, you personally need to make your way to North London and come and do some research of your own with the fans on ground level.
    Nobody questions your love and admiration for the club or the current manager but don’t blindly criticise or dismiss the nature of that expression by those supporters that have been around long before you, or even I, were; regardless of where they hail from! Be objective and try not to be an academician or pseudo-intellectualise everything that some fans express. Their views at this time invariably emanate from an emotional place akin to ours that feeds our love and admiration for our club and the manager. Note how I have excluded the current Board from that praise!

  • SA Gunner

    Well put Sammy, no one and I mean no one is bigger than Arsenal Football Club.

    One area where Im proud of Untold is that they have removed that absolute shambles of a slogan..

    Support of the Lord Wenger and ALL THAT HE DOES.

  • bob

    As for why the 4-4 theft by the bent Phil Dowd tied to Joey Barton’s blatant assault on anything AFC/African would inspire your passionate interest in Arsenal, I couldn’t really say. Maybe something to do with a passion for truth and justice and why AFC would be so targeted? 🙂

  • bob

    Rhys Jaggar sez Only Money Should Talk.

  • bob

    You are disentangling Doublegooner’s sacred emotional bond to Arsenal from his anti-Johnny Foreigner bias. Thank god they are disentangled in you (as your posting to him shows); but they are not disentangled in him. Emotion and passion that link the two are not worthy of inclusion, as you rightly pointed out, under the values that AFC now has publicly stood for. Do we agree on this?

  • I was thinking that our next slogan should be “Supporting the Lord Wenger, Arsenal’s most successful manager ever”

  • DC

    I fully agree; those values should be core to the club and every aspect of a civilised and an equal society!
    Just for the record, I myself am a “Johnny Foreigner” by birth, consequently I’ve never needed anything disentangled from me! 🙂

    Mate, and I will call you “mate” just try to appreciate just how valuable and wonderful our rapidly increasing overseas’ fan-base is for our club at the moment and, more importantly, will be for the future! ManU are regularly defined as “the biggest club in the world” for just that reason and it really should be us when we are based in arguably the most culturally diverse snd cosmopolitan city in the world!

    That slogan certainly would remind people but paradoxically, I’m sure it would also have the opposite effect with many intimating that “the King is Dead, long live the King”! But who would they realistically choose as the new King?

  • Tasos

    Times are hard, this is a difficult period for the club. With the Norf London Derby looming large I couldn’t resist copy and pasting this post from a Spurs blog.

    “arsenal have had a lot of bad luck with injuries, while losing fabregas and nasri were heavy blows. It will be interesting to see how wenger recovers and if indeed he is given the time to. As much as we vilify him and arsenal he has been too successful for too long to not deserve a certain degree of respect for his managerial approach. Arsenal do a lot right and as far as their approach to running the club, we are essentially following down a similar path. right now we have the better team, but do we really have the better manager? one thing is for certain, they have the better balance sheet, and they are quite a few years ahead of us along the path to financial power. They have not spent big while quickly dealing with the stadium debt, we have yet to face that challenge. Wenger has shown a consistent ability to spot and develop young talent. Van persie is world class, as was fabregas. Oxlade chamberlain and wilshere are outstanding talents. We may be enjoying a brief dominance right now but I am not going to get too carried away in crowing to arsenal fans I know. They are having an appalling season, we an exceptional one. they are fourth and we are third. that says a lot in itself. wenger has built winning teams more than once, we would be rash to say he has now lost it completely. luck plays a hell of a role in life and football, wenger has been unlucky, harry very lucky with the timing of his spurs arrival. either way, arsenal still have a hell of a lot more cash to spend if they want to, and when they pay off the stadium they will have one of the most cash rich, sustainable finances out there – just when we will be dealing with our own stadium build. enjoy this season and our current dominance, but don’t gloat too much just yet…”

    (Don’t worry I have since washed My hands)

  • SA Gunner


    More appropriate sir, because its a title is fact and that he has earned.

    The title AND ALL THAT HE DOES is not appropriate, for anyone I might add. This is Arsenal FC, not Wenger/Arsene FC.

  • Sammy

    Thanks for pointing out SA Gunner. I missed the change in slogan. But then I’ve not been visiting this site too frequently. Now I just visit if I happen to stumble on a link from some arsenal news aggregator site.

    I used to like what these guys used to do few years ago. I agree that out of the 7 year period, Wenger was right to be financially prudent for first 3 years due to the interest payments. But we’ve been turning in tens of millions of profits for many years now, the interest on stadium loan is manageable, and AW chums dont tire of saying what good shape Arsenal’s finance are in. But Wenger has simply refused to invest sufficiently! The straw which broke the camel’s straw for me was Wenger signing a Chelsea reject and a past-his-prime Evertonian to replace the creativity of Fabregas and Nasri – two of the best midfielders in the league last year. Mark my words… Arsenal will finish outside top 4, RvP will leave and no world class player worth his salt would be willing to join a non CL club (if Wenger is willing to shell out his precious money in the first place)!

  • Sammy

    Bob, I have commented dozens of times in the past providing analysis why its all Wenger’s fault. Key points:

    1) Refusing to reinvest sufficiently in the squad for about half a decade inspite of the clubs making tens of millions of profits, and the AFC Directors making public statement many times that funds are available if AW wants to invest.

    2) Attaching mediocre players like Denilson, Bendtner, Diaby, Walcott, Almunia, Rosicky on big long term contracts while refusing to pay market wages for world class talents like RvP, Nasri etc. Result? We can’t keep the players we need, and we can’t offload our mediocre perform as no-one would match their inflated salaries!

    3) Ignoring the defensive hole for years. Always pinching penny and signing geriatrics like Sol Campbell, Silvestre, Squillaci etc instead of proven and current world class defenders!

    4) Refusing to address the goal-keeper issue for many years – Not bringing in a good keeper even on loan for years until the full development of Szeczny.

    5) Never fully refusing quality players we lost. Flamini left in 2007-08. We suffered for 3 years without a good DM before Song came good. Hleb left the same year and we lacked a winger. Arshavin was only brought in after more than a year when the Big 4 finished was threatened.

    Adebayor left the next year. RvP also got injured early in the season. We made the tiny Arshavin play as the lone striker. He delayed the purchase of a striker until he could get Chamakh on a free.

    Fabregas and Nasri left, and we get Arteta and Benayoun, that too so late in the season that there wasnt enough time for the squad to gel and we had the worst start to the season for years!

    Well, AW has done wonders in the past, and all Arsenal fans, including me are grateful for what he did until 7 years ago. But his performance since is not good enough for a club like Arsenal. He needs to change, or go!

  • nicky

    Having loyally supported Arsenal in triumph and disaster for the last 80 years, I never thought I would read such a penetrating summing up of the Club’s recent history and I’m rather ashamed to admit to some difficulty in composing a defence.

  • DC

    Now that would be a “Spurs” fan that I would gladly share a pint with and “chew the cud”!
    What an insightful analysis that ALL Gooners should read as a reality-check from a supporter of our fiercest rivals!
    What is the address of that Spurs blog? I’d like to read it every now and then and see how this fan was treated by his own following this comment?! I’ll be sure to disinfect myself thoroughly afterwards of course!

  • Tasos


    Don’t have the official link but you can find the article on the “Newsnow Arsenal” website.

    The article is under the headline “Arsene Wenger”

  • bob

    Cheers for your strong reply. I want/need to think it through before my reply, and hopefully others with perspective will as well.

  • nicky

    It’ll be interesting to read your comments on Sammy’s rather sobering treatise. I’m still trying to find fault.

  • Jim

    @ Sammy
    Top, top reply. I seriously doubt anyone can counter any of those points. Wenger has been a great coach, but lately he has made some poor judgement which you have neatly summed up. We all give him credit for the success, so why absolve him of all blame when things go wrong. Surely, the man is no God, and is as likely to make mistakes as anyone. I would still want Wenger to continue beyond summer, but this summer, he has to leave his arrogance, admit his mistakes (which he partly did by admitting to a French paper that his youth project has failed), make some changes in tactics, be ruthless with under-performers, re-arrange the wage structure and attract and sign star players by spending the money as we all know is now there to spend.
    We knew this season will be tough, so 4th will be a trophy this year but eventually fans must realise that 4th is no trophy, if Arsenal are to maintain and grow their global fan-base, real success and trophies must be won.

  • bjtgooner


    Thank you very much for your reply to my question. There is also the alternate argument – that long standing fans should be more tolerant to Wenger since he has been the most successful Arsenal manager ever.

    The point of view that is most likely is that with human nature and emotion being relatively unpredictable, the reaction of a cross section of newish and older fans to any particular event is not necessarily divergent.

    I am pleased to note you have clearly separated yourself from the dangerous and destructive route taken by Doublegooner, for your continued credibility it was important that you did so.

  • DC

    Credibility of someone’s opinion is determined by how they deliver their argument rather than if you agree with it or not.
    I am a very pragmatic person (a senior medical doctor) and listen, analyse and address what I feel is relevant in any situation. Many people are not diplomatic in how they express themselves and that can upset many but it is crucial that when someone speaks, or writes in this case, about something that matters to them, you do not dismiss them and question their “credibility”, but listen to what they are saying. Sammy’s comment at 4.28pm is a classic example of that but many may consider him more credible as his analysis is more erudite. All fans have a point-of-view that should not be dismissed outright but an attempt should be made to clarify and discuss their position with them so one and understands it fully before dismissing it and labelling them as discredible. If you do that, you end up with a mono-morphic and mutually self-grandeuring fanbase.

  • Pat

    Sammy, the general problem with your list of points is that you assume Arsene Wenger as an individual had the power to act differently in every case. I would strongly doubt that, especially on the questions of money.

    You also omit the context he works in. For example, he is constantly trying to foster and develop a group mentality in a context where selfishness is the norm.

    As to all the individuals you name, who is to predict exactly how every individual will develop? I also get the impression Arsene Wenger feels he has a responsibility to the players he signs – a laudable sentiment, surely. We are not talking about chess pieces, but human beings.

    On the question of the youth project that Jim mentions, bringing on young talent and giving it the opportunity to flourish is not a very prominent feature of current British society, so I can’t imagine it has been easy to swim against the stream.

    It is notable, however, that young players do still come to Arsenal, knowing they will not simply be kept on the sidelines so none of the competition can have them.

  • Anne


    I do have a tendency to over-intellectualize everything, but I don’t know if it’s “pseudo” intellectualizing 🙂 Also, I wasn’t intending to scorn those who disagree with me. Sorry if it came across that way.

  • bob

    Sammy, Nicky,
    You’ve made serious and principled points. This is as far as my time today allows: Let me start by saying that my own criticisms (posted on UA) have clustered around the last two January x-fer windows as well as the terrible ROI from Cesc’s departure. What I want to put in play is:
    To your point (# 1): we have had statements from the club that Arsene has all the money in the world to spend; but there has been no way to know whether and to what extent Arsene has been a truly free agent in financial matters over the last few years; and if not, he has been the lightning-rod and loyal general for a shifting ownership group that may well not (or only to a limited extent) have shared his professed values and overvalued profit to results on the pitch. Arsene takes the complete fall in for this in your analysis, Sammy; but, in truth, neither of us know – nor can we know, and I do resent the Total lack of transparency – exactly what have have been/are the constraints on Wenger, and within which the mistakes and failures that you (and I re the x-fer windows) have listed have been made. I’m at a loss, as – and, to be honest, you are as well – because, by design, we do not have basic facts, only resentments, understandable resentments, and attempts to make sense of a painful – but NOT terminal – decline, I’d say.

    To your point (# 2): Every contract is (to a greater or lesser extent) a gamble. Your list of failed players is only there to evaluate through the rear view mirror of the present. Going forward, each (most) of the signings you list could well have been justified as initial signings with a view toward their developmental potential, in Arsene’s capable hands, and in Theo’s case the jury is still out. As for Diaby, is it Arsene’s fault in not seeing how injury-prone he is, or how much of a target he would be allowed to become at the cleats of the Joey Barton’s and his refshite enablers? And further, on this very score, you completely omit the catastrophic injuries inflict on Eduardo – whose loss in clinicality and nous in the box has still not been overcome – and on Ramsey – who, I’d argue is not really back from that injury. As you well know, this game is not played in a vacuum, or on a level playing field under PGMO/Riley/Fergus at their respective helms; nor do you factor in the actual dynamics and actual chronology (which we can’t know) of Cesc’s departure, with Dein’s own son – a capable serial poacher of our best talent, including RVP – as an agent of our dismantling. There is much more, surely. But all this cannot simply and so assuredly be laid at Arsene’s feet as if saying he is totally to blame makes it so. Neither you nor I can do that with the certainty that you muster. And it all has taken place within the context of massive (and well documented hereabouts) personalized, mainstream media attacks, and a demonstrable destabilization campaign, both this summer and ratcheting up again now, to take this man down.

    Ideally, I’d want you to consider these elements, just as I have considered two of yours so far. This is a discussion worth having and asking all to weigh in on, in a thoughtful manner. In conclusion, I want to agree that he and/or AFC have to change; and, wish to underscore that Arsene hinted, in the last post-match press conference, that there could be a time in which a long discussion on what has made the present moment and his position in it what it truly is. Arsene Wenger is neither saint nor miscreant; but an eyes-open player in a very rough world and who continues to do what he can to better this club. It may not be good enough now, but, given what is actually afoot, we must be very careful in wishing that he depart – which I do not – because we may get what we wish for. And unless you know what that is, through some inside channel, I think that advocating change – including fair play policed via video replay – and advocating a changed Arsene/Arsenal is a viable – not perfect – way forward, until the summer. This said, I’ll try to bring more into play and appreciate your critique and the chance to hopefully shed some analytical light instead of more tribal heat.

  • bob

    Sorry I was so long-winded; you said it better. Less is more.

    You said it even better. Ditto for sure 🙂

  • bob

    Anne, DC,
    To me, Analysis is not “pseudo-intellectualizing” when its the good-heart-mind at work, and co-educates the shire. That too-easy brickbat of a label is being misapplied in this case, and was in my case last week. We’re all smart and care. Let’s agree to keep being so and doing so, in our respective ways; and pull our oars on the same ship ffs. And, especially as that fateful April 100th Anniversary looms, keep aware of all icebergs. Which reminds me, just they said the Titanic could never go down; well perhaps the juggernaut Fergus XX may yet meet meet its Water-loo. Hope springs eternal, mates. 🙂 🙂

  • bjtgooner


    I am not sure that your explanation of credibility is quite correct. Credibility does not just depend on how well you deliver an argument – that presupposes that you can get away with saying anything provided you spin it well enough.

    Credibility relates to truth & trustworthiness – and establishing a position based on that type of principle.

    Unfortunately in this life it often easier to lose credibility than gain it. Kindly note I was complimenting you for not falling into the trap that Doublegooner (possibly inadvertently) set for you.

  • bob

    Nicky, Sammy,
    I’d be very interested in your further thoughts.

  • bob

    Yeoman work hereabouts! Cheers.

  • bjtgooner


    Thanks for that.

    It looks like Doublegooner has taken your advice and returned to the sewer.

  • DC

    I know you were complimenting me and I thank you but I have never indicated a support of Doublegooner’s views. If I had, I would have said so as I always do with others.
    English may not be my first language (it is actually my third as I am one of the same Johnny Foreigners that Doublegooner was bad-mouthing and criticising) but I am big enough and knowledgable enough to address anyone’s point-of-view if it is genuinely theirs and from a place of personal-honesty and belief (hence i take it to be credible).

  • Adam

    Most of you will know who built saint Paul’s cathedral and recognise his brilliance and vision for a future which he himself knew he would not indulge in. The people we do not remember are the stone mason’s and builders who supported and built Sir Christopher Wren’s greatest achievement. To put a bit of perspective on recent comments regarding loyalty, locality and the rights to support, We of locality remember the stone mason’s and builders, They are our fathers, who without, we are only left with Sir Christopher’s brilliant vision of how St Paul’s could be.
    Im sorry if this analogy and quote has already been used, But I find it befitting.
    Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you.
    Now there was buildings of a religious nature on this site dating back to the 9th century but we only remember Wren. We choose to honour this man and rightly so, but at the omission of those before who built monuments that defined this a site of importance.
    We of locality are reminded of our families, past and present when we think of Arsenal. It is they who defined Arsenal to be of importance in our lives. Without them there would not be an Arsenal as we know it today and no one outside England would show an interest in Arsenal after all I do not believe there to be a huge global following of Leyton orient or Brentford, Therefore it can be deduced that people are attracted to the vision that Arsenal is or could one day be.

    Now for the irony, The church that stood before St Paul’s was built by the Normans. You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • DC

    I concur; credibility is hard to attain and easy to lose but one must take it at face-value initially regardless of your agreement, then subsequently decide rather than hound or join-in recipricol name-calling.
    The best and most fruitful debates and discussions are invariably had with those that have a view and position that is opposed to yours! Dialogue with those that agree with you just results in the inevitable mutual back-slapping with little new-thinking discovered or instilled.

  • DC

    Spot on, and that is the juxtaposition of this whole situation when we look back some 25 years from now!

  • Adam

    @DC, One can only hope to be around then. Here’s to HOPE.

  • DC

    I’ll drink to that!

  • Anne


    Nothing wrong with being intellectual 🙂

  • bob

    …and I can cook too!

  • Sammy


    Thanks for your response.

    Re point 1. I can’t imagine why Wenger would prefer to be the fall guy and shield the board from public criticism. I don’t think thats part of his job profile and no manager in the world would do that.

    Have a look at this link below from 2008. Peter Hill-Wood said “There have been suggestions that we keep stopping him from buying – that is not the case.” “He certainly has got money if he wants to spend it.”

    And this is from 2004:

    Why would Wenger not even once has come and said that the board is lying and he hasn’t got money. Instead, everytime he has said that if we find the “quality” we will spend.

    Re Point 2, I don’t criticise Wenger for taking chances with youngsters and that some of the youngsters would fail. The problem is why pay youngsters like Diaby, Bendtner wages of 40-50k a week before they’ve proven themselves at the highest level atleast for a season? Do you really think walcott is worth 60k a week with RvP only paid 80k a week?

    I would be interested to hear your response to the rest of the points I mentioned. I anyways typed them up in a hurry so apologies for the bad grammar and typos.

  • WalterBroeckx

    He has said many times: if we find the quality AT THE RIGHT PRICE.

    The reason why Wenger would take the criticism? He just is a very loyal person. Maybe a bit old fashioned in this I think.

    And unless you are the person who is paying the wages at Arsenal I would like to know how you know the wages? How can you say that player is getting too much and that not enough if we don’t know the right number.

    But if you got a reliable source about who gets what we could talk about it.

  • Sammy


    I do like a few things about this blog, and some of your work as well. But one thing that I detest is your arrogance.

    I am not the person who pays the wages at Arsenal, but neither are you. Obviously I got the figures from newspapers / websites (trying to stay away from tabloid media as much as I can). The Arsenal wage cap is well reported and understood as true. Arsenal still has one of the top wage bills. It doesn’t take a genius then to figure out that it can only mean that there is not a big variation in Arsenal player’s wages. This then makes easier to believe what the papers say: That top players like RvP don’t get half as much as Rooney or Adebayor. And that Arsenal has been unable to offload players like Almunia, Bendtner, Denilson etc as other clubs don;t meet the current wages!

    So you see, one doesn’t have to be paying the wages directly to make the above assertion.

    Whereas your assertion above “The reason why Wenger would take the criticism? He just is a very loyal person. Maybe a bit old fashioned in this I think.”. How did you come to this conclusion (inspite of all evidence to the contrary)? Do you happen to be Arsene Wenger’s spiritual guru?

  • Tasos


    I think there has been an in-balance in Arsenals wage structure in recent times. By moving certain players on, or attempting to do so, it would appear the club have accepted there is a problem there that needs addressing.

    Its a very difficult balancing act though, attempting to be competitive in wages with our rivals whilst also predicting how a player might progress, how do you place a value (in wages) on said player/players without a certain amount of speculating?

    However this is not just an Arsenal/Arsene football problem, only last week Dennis Bergkamp revealed the difficulties Ajax are facing in terms of motivation and focus for their young players;

    “We are working very hard to try to keep the players interested. It sounds a silly thing but that’s how it is nowadays”.

    “I think money plays a big part, so do agents”.
    “Whereas we always had the drive to win trophies, to be the best, I think the drive of a lot of young players now is to make as much money as possible.

    “It’s a different mentality but you have to work with it, try and deal with it”

    Personally I believe the whole financial structure of English football has to change, wages/transfers will have to drop to a more realistic level in order for all clubs to able to sustain a healthy balance sheet in the future. For the benefit of our game the powers that be in the EPL should have installed its very own FFP rules a long time ago.

  • WalterBroeckx


    the problem is that people name numbers (I know where they specialise in such matters) and after repeating it a few times it is “the truth”.

    So when I see someone writing player X gets xxxx£ and that is too much and player Y gets xxxxx£ and that isn’t enough it can get on my nerve a bit. And I have seen more than enough of such claims the last days.

    I think it is a bit simple to talk about what players earn if we don’t know the exact numbers.

    Problem is in a world where club loyalty has gone out the door you must pay more to keep a player at the club.
    The players have the power for the moment (look at Tevez…) and offloading players is a problem for all big clubs. (look at city and Tevez or Adebayor again).
    You must pay them big money otherwise they don’t come. And when they fail you cant get rid of them because you pay them too much.

    So what is the answer to that? Doing like Wenger has been trying to do and finally things are coming closer: building a generation that also loves the club. Players like Wilshere, Frimpong, Jenkinson, and all those from the academy that are coming in the next years are not just players but also supporters of Arsenal.

    Did you see the picture of Jenkinson his bedroom in his elderly home? That is the answer for club loyalty.
    All those big name mercenaries like Nasri that come and go are the problem.

    If all goes right maybe in a few years time we will have 11 supporters on the field. High quality players that also love the club and feel like we do when we lose. Can’t wait for that moment to happen.

  • bob

    You have sidestepped or ignored the points I’ve made about the unpunished attacks on Diaby, Eduardo, Ramsey and others; that (judging by RefReviews here over several seasons, as you know,) it is probably not a fair pitch when a set of referees are unleashed in certain match situations; and the ongoing toxic media environment that Arsene Wenger must function within. All this is context. You have removed it from your reply, just as it has been absent from your initial analysis. If we want a full picture of AW in order to assess his performance, then be fair and try to factor in everything, as I am trying to do in considering your points about his judgments. Let’s put all factors that we can see on the table. I am trying not to be selective, but addressing all your points as best I can, which is limited; but you don’t even address all my points in return when they don’t suit your analysis, it seems. This makes it a debate (or a lawyer’s brief), rather than a true attempt at analyzing (at least naming or listing) ALL the factors that appear to be in play in AFC’s performances.

  • Persian gunner

    I am completely agree with the idea of fighting for winning, even at last drama shows us it’s tragic face!
    I consider it as a fight between “blood and blade”!
    You can’t let it go, you can’t stop loving the story of a bunch of wounded heroes who tried to change the world!
    I remember the night, that cesc scored that equalizer penalty against Barcelona, so powerful shot that, he worsened his injury! And he continue on playing, walking on that injured painful leg, til the end!
    That’s what I love about the Arsenal!
    As always I describe the bad situation for me by this:
    It hurts, but I like it!
    I like it our way, the arsenal way

  • Anne


    You can cook?! Well, that’s one that you definitely have up on me 🙂

  • Sammy

    Take it easy Bob. No need to get worked up mate. I don’t need to “side-step” or ignore your so called “points”. I don’t make my living writing conspiracy theories on blogs; and have much more important things to do. However, here is my very brief answers to your “points”.

    Re “unpunished attacks on Diaby, Eduardo, Ramsey and others”.
    This is the EPL mate! Grow up! The old Arsenal side used to give as good as they got. But if Wenger decides to play young diminutive players who play pretty passing patterns, don’t expect all other teams to bend over backwards and play like they do in Spain! Ofcourse, like any Arsenal fan, I am also infuriated by the “attacks” on Eduardo, Ramsey etc. But you can’t go crying to momma everytime someone roughs you up. The team should have the tough, strong characters to face up to these challenges if they’re to survive in the EPL. Unfortunately, this is another area in which AW has been found wanting in many of the recent years!

    RE: “(judging by RefReviews here over several seasons, as you know,) it is probably not a fair pitch when a set of referees are unleashed in certain match situations”

    Mate all I can say is that you’ve been reading too much of Untold Arsenal! Even Man Utd fans keep complaining about the refs, though we all know the decisions they get from the refs. Yes, we do get some pretty rotten decisions, as do many other teams. But in professional football, you can’t keep sulking if get bad decisions. You just gotta work harder than others! The refereeing isn’t gonna change anytime soon. Does it mean we give up hope for winning anything in the near future?

    RE “the ongoing toxic media environment that Arsene Wenger must function within”

    Haha.. Now this is really hilarious. Maybe you and your mates on Untold Wenger should try and get a super injunction so that Wenger can be shielded against the “toxic media environment” and get a fair chance to prosper in a more amiable environment?
    I mean seriously, do you really think that it has come to this? That the bad run for Arsenal is due to the media affecting Wenger in discharge of his duties?

  • Sammy

    Bob, I have said all I had to on this point. I still respect Wenger on what he did, and what he’s tried to do. If he retires today, I will still hold him in high respect for all that he has given to us Arsenal fans. But if he continues, then he needs to change his ways as the same cant continue!

    over n out