Wenger’s Greatest Mistakes

There were a couple of comments yesterday that in the face of an exit from another competition to the effect that I should not be so positive in my comments on this site.  A defeat, an exit from the Cup, is a time for sadness and reflection on what we should have done.

So, in response, I thought I would attempt to write down what seem to me to be the main Wengerian failures we have witnessed since he joined the club.

I found five, and here they are…

1.  A failure to predict the response of small teams (like Stoke, Bolton, Blackburn, Hull…) to the Arsenal revolution.   As we know now Blackburn introduced rotational fouling and then rotational time-wasting and were quickly followed by the other little teams.   We might have assumed that the laws of the game could be changed so that teams could be punished rather than players, but there is no move in this direction.  It reduces games to nothingness and has taken us quite a while to find a way through the problem.

2. A failure to predict the response of the big teams to the Arsenal revolution. Other teams could see how quickly the Arsenal revolution was happening under Wenger, and they realised they would have no chance to catch up and change their clubs in the way Wenger changed Arsenal.  So they decided to spend, spend and spend again.  We all might have expected some expenditure, but I doubt that Wenger realised it would reach the insane levels of player salaries and transfer fees that we now see.   He could not follow, because as we know this approach is doomed to failure, but the collapse of financial systems such as football can take time.  Trouble is, I don’t know what else he could have done.

3.  Failure to see how far the authorities in football would go to stop change. It took the FA etc a year or two to see just how sensational the Wenger revolution was going to be, and they needed to stop him, before his revolutionary methods were copied elsewhere.   So as the new methodologies rolled out the powers of reaction got moving.  They stopped the Breveren experiment, they let it be known that having influence over a team outside your territory was not going to be allowed, and they went on the offensive.   They cranked up the number of international friendlies and mindless competitions, and they started moving towards limiting the number of “foreign” players in a team – even attempting to change the law in the EU over employment – one of the fundamentals on which the EU is built.  I suspect the original idea was to have two or three nursery teams in Europe, all feeding Arsenal.

4.  The failure to recognise that as the clubs decided to kick Arsenal to death, the FA, UEFA and FIFA would step back and invite them to carry on. Whether you look at the match in which we won the league at Man IOU or this week’s game against Stoke where Cesc was stamped upon, or last week’s where he had his hair pulled…  It is everywhere.   Kicking players has been legitimised as a way to stop the revolution.

5.  I doubt also that Wenger saw that there would be such sheepishness among the other clubs in taking on UEFA. I suspect he might have thought that the big teams would stand up against the mindless internationals, the wreckless injury to players, the stupidity of playing Theo for England and the under 21s at the same time.  But he was wrong.  Only Ferguson stood up – if you recall Saint Giggs never played any Wales friendlies in most of his career – he always had a muscle strain.   Not following that line was an error.

I suspect that Wenger imagined that by now we would have our international league, we would have a second Arsenal club either playing in the second division as they do in Spain, or playing in another country, with players moving freely between the two clubs – thus giving our youngsters a chance to play.   I doubt that he expected to lose two important players for virtually the whole season because they got injured playing internationals.

In the great plan therefore, these are the mistakes I see – mistakes of pre-cognition.  In the world of sport you are forever making predictions as to what will happen, and that influences how you behave.   He made his call – and I still think it has been infinitely better than any other call anyone has ever made in football.

But he is not done yet, and he is aware of this developments.  His responses are already being seen.

Tony Attwood

50 Replies to “Wenger’s Greatest Mistakes”

  1. hmmm…..well one was my comment..that forced u to ur limits and took out brilliance from u……;)

    what’s the explanation for opposing wenger according to u??

    also, setting the no of local players…i think will not be good for a global fan, it will decrease the quality of d game…

    what do u think, shud this happen, be the consequences???will their be a break away league??

  2. sorry..but u r stuck to ur same rule….blame everybody else….why they changed….never ever u thought it’s time for wenger to change a bit to prove his theory right???

  3. Tony,

    Can I add the failure to predict that (Fifa, uefa and) Fa not follow their own rules ? Like with the “who ownes what” as you have pointed out many times.

    On your number 1 it always has been the case that Fifa does not react untill it really is necessary. Time wasting is getting a disaster and the refs don’t act. And Fifa does nothing.

    Point number 4 is really making me sad and mad. It really is not that difficult to punish fouls and to give yellow cards. Yesterday the first event in the second half was a very dangerous challenge on Vela where a Stoke player came in with leg stretched and at hip height to Vela who, luckily, was in the air to control a ball. The Stoke player caught him right on his knee and this was a really dangerous tackle. The ref gave a foul but this should have been a yellow card at least. EVERY excessive or potentialy dangerous tackle sould be punished with a yellow card but this seems to be forgotten by many refs. The intent of that tackle was clear to me as Vela was the most lively attacker on the pitch for Arsenal in the first half and he had to be kicked to get him quiet or even off the field.

  4. sorry to bother u guys…..trying to find a clue what’s going on…..i went through another of ur nice articles but failed to understand humour in it and facts in it……

    Arsenal are hammered by debt.

    How much do we owe on the stadium? £350m? And we lost money on the flats. And none of those offices and warehouses have sold. And we were forced to build 500 flats around the ground and give them to the council. We can’t afford the repayments on the mortgage, and that’s why we sell players and bring in 10 year olds. We need to find a rich Arab. Or a Russian. Or a man from Uzbekistan. “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” (William Blake).

    Arsenal have become a selling club

    That’s all we do. We bring in the kids, develop them, and then sell them. It has been going on from the first day Wenger was here – Anelka, Vieira, Henry, Petit, Overmars… That’s all we do, sell, sell, sell. That shows how bad we are. We are a selling club. You don’t see the other teams selling. You watch this transfer window. Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, they will all be out there buying everyone under the sun. We have half our team crocked or useless and we buy nothing. Therefore I rest my case.
    Note: actually there is no case to rest, no axioms, no clarity of argument, no nothing. That doesn’t mean that my arguments have any of those things, but at least I know I am talking gibberish much of the time.

  5. Every club sells players, also MU, Chelsea and Liverpool. Even Real Madrid, Milan, Barcelona and Inter sell players. It is part of the football world, has always been and probably will always be.

    The big difference is that we mostly sell with a (big) profit.

  6. My dear neutral fan, please check list of sold players and consider how many of them kept playing on same level as in Arsenal.

    – Anelka needed about 10 years to find form again (could it be reason why he is sold)

    – Henry, is he even shadow of player we used to watch on Highbury?

    – Flamini, hahaha

    – Hleb, hahaha

    – Viera, how many good seasons he had after left Arsenal ???

    and so on and on…

    Tell me which player was sold and we failed to get if not better than at last player in same shape.

  7. @Neutral Fan – Arsenal are not riddled with debt. EVERY PL club has debt. Arsenal are THE only club to have a self sustaining debt. We do not need the sale of flats or players to ensure we can service this debt. The debt has been secured against the stadium itself and is to be (and has been) set off aginst gate revenues – the only constant in todays game.

    Yes, Arsenal sell players, with the exception of Anelka, who has left Arsenal as a youngster and really set the world alight? Bentley? Pennant? Flamini? Hleb? Aliadiere??? Dont think so mate. Flamini was the only player to have left arsenal that Wenger really wanted to keep. The rest were moved on at a time where Wenger knew he’d get the most money on them without showing any real promise.

    Incidentally – who do you support?

  8. Hi “neutral fan” —

    The difference is: 1.) the debt that Arsenal has is due to a 60,000-seat stadium that churns HUGE gate receipts 2.) the debt is sustainable, meaning Arsenal comfortably pays it off each year.

    It’s basically a large-scale mortgage. In time, the huge amount of revenue generated by the Emirates will more than pay itself off. It was an INVESTMENT for Arsenal’s future, to keep its revenues in line with other big clubs.

    Why don’t you go look at Man U and Liverpool? The difference is that their owners incrued debt to simply TAKEOVER their respective clubs. It’s money basically down the drain.

  9. Tony: I think you are sometimes too liberal with people who hide behind ignorance to make unintelligeble comments here. They never even get their facts right; yet they come over here to insult the intelligence of our dear untold community.

    I don’t mind if people are not properly informed, but seek information enough to be able to share and partake in factually correct and intelligently detailed discussions. But a flagrant regurgitation of fallacies drives me to distractions.

    I remember being warned with these philosophical words of wisdom as a child – “Silence is golden if you have nothing ntelligible to say. Otherwise, one develops the habit of talking loud and saying nothing; the ultimate display of mediocrity.

    The very fact that someone could call themselves ‘neutral fan’ and come to a serious fanbase community, say it all.

  10. @neutral fan
    Please go away. Tony has written dozens of posts on why we don’t need a sugar daddy. I would like to add that we don’t want one. If Arsenal were to get an oligarch whose wealth was based on assets belonging to the Russian people or a Saudi Prince whose country treats women as property and whose wealth is based on subjugating the populace, then I would stop, after 57 years, being an Arsenal supporter.

    Your talk of us not being able to afford the mortgage is presumably a wind up, as the club claims to be able to do so easily and our profits support this.

    Armin talks to your point of us being a selling club. I would add that our behaviour in the cases of Viera and Adebayor demonstrate what you say to be untrue. Viera was kept for an extra year at a massive cost and the same could be said of Adebayor.

    Why did they want to leave? Your point about the wage structure is the only one that has any merit. Why should Cesc stay for 80k when he could get 200k elsewhere? Skip the detail, but in principle you have a case. The answer is we only want them if they want us. RvP signed in exactly these circumstances. Cesc gets a contract extension and an increase each year; but all within sensible parameters. Adebayor behaved in the way you described. He was unhappy with the 100% increase he got in 2008/09, and played accordingly. He went to Man City for another 50%. If you cannot see that this is rubbish and a game we shouldn’t be in, then please blog elsewhere.

    However, I do have some sympathy for your position. Perhaps we shouldn’t be in this game. It is clear to me that we are not playing on a level playing field. Walter’s description of the foul on Vela is fairly typical. There has been an unpublicised decision to change the application of the rules and it works to the disadvantage of the talented players. Can it be coincidence that we are at the wrong end of so many refereeing decisions? Is this also an unpublicised decision?

    Is it right for us to continue swimming against the tide? Should we change, get out, or simply continue and try to win despite it all. I am for the last option, but can see why Neutral Fan and other D & Gs might go for the first option. I just wish they would do it somewhere else.

  11. There is not one referee in the English game who deserves to be called up for any international competition because they fail to apply the laws of the game in a logical and consistent manner.

  12. Tony,

    6. A failure to check in with Brilliant antagonists who are so-called supporters.
    Arsene forgot about what makes fans so smart. Arsenal was terrific when AW was in Japan. Arsenal obviously would have had trophies regardless of Wenger. Arsenal would have brought in Thierry Henry, reformed Tony Adams, Discovered Patrick Veira, revived Robert Pires, Brought in Ljunberg, Found Anelka, and would also have had the greatest run in history of English football 49-0. Arsenal would also have built a new stadium which would have housed players like Walcott, Wiltshire, Ramsay, Eastmond, Freeman, Simpson, have I left out any Englishmen? Let’s not forget about the Arsenal International scene w/o Wenger. G. Weah would have been discovered long ago. The African players such as Toure, Adebuyorelse, Drogba, Essien would have all been discovered through the vast network of scouting through another coach at Arsenal. Therefore Chelsea & the other Teams would have copied it from someone else.
    In Closing: This Team sucks with AW! There is nothing to look forward to with the Emirates! And, we need Tony Pulis, Owen Coyle, Mourinho, Fergie Jr., Scholari, Avram Grant, Fabio Capello, & Diego Maradona.

  13. just to add on hartwick89 list..
    We need at last one Russian or Arab millionaire to give us mooney so we can buy all those shiny players like Robinho, Aqulani, Babel, Berbatov, Pavlychenko etc etc… And of course because Arsene we lost Seaman whom we sold instead to keep him, and who know maybe our chances to win more would be increased if we could also bring some people from cemetery.

    Yes I think its huge Wengers mistake for not bringing all players we wish and not let us play our Manager computer games in which we prove we know the best, and its stupid let us sit home in front of computer instead on bench of Arsenal or any other team which we would successfully lead to title if not bankruptcy…

  14. Excellent post.

    Related: the failure to understand how deeply racism and bigotry run in European football.

    Arsene has always stood for selecting the best player available regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity. There are some in European football who simply cannot handle that simple idea. They think it’s important to have a quota of white players, or English players, or whatever. Referees are a case in point. Many times, the proponents of these bigoted theories claim not be bigots, they say it’s important “for the marketing of the game.” It’s sad, really.

  15. Haartwich 89:
    well then i suggest you go support another team with another manager. Hartwich 89.. its no point for you to support Arsenal is it? Cos no matter how you feel the sad truth is that nobody with power cares. Nobody that decides stuff inside Arsenal cares. no one. sad huh? You can rant all day long and no one that makes decisions even knows you are alive. go support the big spenders, city or man u or chelsea. arsenal can never be a team for you cos it wont ever change for you. so you either live with it or move on. simple as….
    Because i can guarantee you it will not change, and i makes me smile how angry you are and how i know you will always be angry and it wont change a damn thing, cos nobody with power to change anything would ever listen to you . Happy life mate, with all that anger inside…

  16. Agree totally with Hartwick89. This team needs fresh blood in the back room. We need Del Bosque, Guardiola, Hiddink, van Gaal, and van Basten.

    We need to sell or give away Walcott, Denilson, Vela, Eduardo, Diaby, Djorou, Clichy, Traore, Almunia, Fabianski, and the rest of Wenger’s babies.

    We need to get out there and prove our ambition by buying 7 £30m rated players, and I don’t care who they are, just that they each cost £30m, once we do that, nobody will call us a small club.

    We also need to get rid of this insular board of ours and get in some guys with balls. If Stan and Alisher could come together, that would be perfect.

    If Arsenal don’t do what I’ve outlined above, we’ll never win anything else for the rest of the club’s existence!

  17. @Armin,

    Just to add-on to your add-on;
    7. This site would never have been created because Wenger wouldn’t be here and all of the antagonists and s0-called supporters would not exist like Nuetered Fan. Neutered Fan would never have a chance to to say brilliant things like, “neutral fan
    January 25th, 2010 at 10:33 am
    plz, if any1 has spare tym enlighten me on above comment….” or “neutral fan
    January 25th, 2010 at 10:31 am
    sorry to bother u guys…..trying to find a clue what’s going on…..i went through another of ur nice articles but failed to understand humour in it and facts in it……
    Arsenal are hammered by debt.
    How much do we owe on the stadium? £350m? And we lost money on the flats. And none of those offices and warehouses have sold. And we were forced to build 500 flats around the ground and give them to the council. We can’t afford the repayments on the mortgage, and that’s why we sell players and bring in 10 year olds. We need to find a rich Arab. Or a Russian. Or a man from Uzbekistan. “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” (William Blake).
    Arsenal have become a selling club
    That’s all we do. We bring in the kids, develop them, and then sell them. It has been going on from the first day Wenger was here – Anelka, Vieira, Henry, Petit, Overmars… That’s all we do, sell, sell, sell. That shows how bad we are. We are a selling club. You don’t see the other teams selling. You watch this transfer window. Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, they will all be out there buying everyone under the sun. We have half our team crocked or useless and we buy nothing. Therefore I rest my case.
    Note: actually there is no case to rest, no axioms, no clarity of argument, no nothing. That doesn’t mean that my arguments have any of those things, but at least I know I am talking gibberish much of the time.”
    His brilliance would never be known! This site would be obsolete because we would win every trophy year after year. We would also have the best u-8 team through first team. We would spend 7x more for players like Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Puyol. Yay!

  18. @B,
    Make sure before you read a poster you read Tony’s outline for how to read this cite. I made a few mistakes as a newbie.

  19. Hartwick89 – you forgot to mention that we would have set up fantastic training facilities (recently let to Leeds who went on to make mash out of spuds). We would have been playing the passing game rather than the hoof and run! We would be the team that everyone the world over wants to watch.

    Wenger? what does he know about football that Andy Gray cant teach him!!

  20. Neutral fan – I think it is fair to say we have lost each other. You don’t get my humour – which is fair enough, lots of people don’t – and I don’t get your argument, and thus communication ends.

    If I may explain for the benefit of anyone else happening upon this note..

    When you say, “Note: actually there is no case to rest, no axioms, no clarity of argument, no nothing. That doesn’t mean that my arguments have any of those things, but at least I know I am talking gibberish much of the time,” I really am lost.

    I have no idea if you are talking in that first sentence about your writing or mine. If you are talking about your writing I would agree, because you statements concerning Arsenal’s debts, the cost of the housing, whether there was loss or profit on Highbury Square and so forth are, far from being axiomatic, without foundation. Just look at the Highbury Square accounts and you will see there is a profit.

    If you are talking about my writing, I would disagree. I take it as axiomatic that football should be about success AND about sustaining the club, and that axiom is made clear in many of the pieces I have written.

    One other point, in repeating my quote from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” do you realise that the work is a satire?

    a self-evident truth that requires no proof.

  21. I really think that “A” is someone with the right attitude to visit Tony’s blog.

    I almost wrote “our” blog as I think we all feel that much connected to the Untold Arsenal, that we consider it a peace of “our” world just like The Arsenal is “our” team and “our” club even if we don’t own any shares or property apart from my red membership card and Tony’s season ticket.

    He just needs to learn how to give a good interpretation of the comments. I loved it all the way Hartwick89. 😉

  22. Armin, really enjoyed the follow up. LOL.

    I bet that buying a centre forward would take half of the season to get him working in the system. A centre forward with Arsenal is not the selfish guy who collects a ball and only looks for personal glory. No he can and must take his chances but he must have an eye for his team mates and give them balls so they can score.

    Maybe there are some players out there with those qualities but how much do the cost, are they willing to come and does their club want to sell ? In those computer games you can sell and buy players like cattle but in real live those 3 questions are not always that simple to get a balanced answer.
    And Wenger is a balanced person, maybe one of his mistakes. 😉

  23. Tony is mostly right. And the clowns who react like they do to a bad performance are babies. Just look at the injury list will you. How can you go glory hunting in 4 directions with an injury list like that!! Ask yourself why we pick up so bad injuries if you want. Ask yourself why other teams get away with continual assault whilst we get booked for nothing and vilified FOR EVERY BAD TACKLE WE MAKE- if you like. Ask yourself why commentators and muppet pundits are happy to see Arsenal unfairly treated by many refs and revel in it when teams manage to close us down, stop any decent football and hoof it down the pitch hoping for a lucky break. THE FACT IS- no other team in this league can play like Arsenal and the ones who might be close to doing so are not good enogh to win games that way. They all rely on the long ball and hit and hope at some stage in every game and most of the time when facing us. What AW is achieving is a miracle and over the next 10 years- you will see miracle upon miracle unfold but it will happen better even if refs and the press start giving Arsenal a fair crack of the whip. Rock on Tone.

  24. It is indeed interesting to look at what others see as “mistakes” and to see them in a neutral light. The obvious one is the idea that AW let Vieira, Henry, & Pires go too soon. Well, the three of them cost us 15million a year in salary. And we also made 25million from them in transfer fees. So, considering Vieira left 4 years ago, Henry and Pires 3 years ago, then since that time we would have paid them 50million in salary and not had 25million in transfer fees. So had we kept those three during the building of the new stadium we would have been out 75million, which is what Walcott, Denilson, Song, Diaby, Eduardo, Rosicky, Nasri, Vermaelen, Sagna, Arshavin and Ramsey cost put together.

    So the choice, given the stadium rebuilding, was to keep Vieira, Henry and Pires or to rebuild with all the players above. We could not have done both, which is what many fail to realise. It was a clear case of choosing one or the other.

    Those who say “we should have kept the older players so they act as mentors to the younger players” fail to realise that most of the young talent at the club wouldnt be here if the older players with their mega-salaries had stayed.

    And without those players would we have gotten 4th place last year? And without 4th place last year would Cesc have stayed last summer and would RvP have signed a new contract?

    I cannot answer those questions definitively but I think we can all suspect the answer.

  25. I hate to say it again but I think almost everyone here agree when I say some people “””still””” have no clue, none whatsover.

    And Walter, why are you saying our club? It’s not ours it’s mine! 🙂

  26. Wonderful reading today. I am a true believer in the Arsene Wenger Philosophy. Tony please keep doing what you are doing. This site shed a lot of light on the Junk Myles Palmer is saying.

  27. Piss off Diceman, it’s not your club. It is my Uncle Bruce’s. He told me so when I was just a wee lad.

  28. A defeat of a reserve team (with a run out for the retrurning Cesc, Denny & Walcott) is proof indeed: Wenger’s lost it!

    Let’s ignore the probability that if we’d made it through, with the probability that we’ll be fighting for the league and CL the team for the next round would have needed X1 au pairs, but hey, why let that ruin enjoyment of rabid xenepohobia.

    The funniest response from all the ****s out there was actually the commentator for ITV ( Not Southgate who probably blew more $ getting Borough relegated then AW did on AFC over the same period) was just after Stoke got there second goal.
    ‘In their faces!’he screamed,(Aresenal’s), and that was after he referred to Stoke as ‘we’ at the end of the first half.

    It’s quite transparent and if it wasn’t so pathetic, I’d say it was sinister. You’d never guess that the UK was nation saturated by nearly a decade of base wartime propaganda, although, along with Churchill, that’s a topic that’s probably been covered in ‘Making the Arsenal’. Yet to read it, saving it for the end of the season.

  29. Tell you what Diceman, I am perfectly happy for everyone to call this “Our site”.

    Incidentally I was moved to write today’s piece after listening to the first series of “Hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy” on CD, which includes a review of the book “God’s Greatest Mistakes”, with the follow up, “Where God Went Wrong” and the final part “That just about wraps it up for God”

    If you live in a part of the world that has not experienced the Guide, (by Douglas Adams) I suggest to get the book or CD of the series at once. It will transform your thinking.

  30. Yes Tony, you have made this into our blog where you count everyone’s opinions as important as your own…apart from of course ones which you did not understand.

    And I had a copy of The Guide… myself, I may fancy reading it again soon!

  31. He used to live in N1, the late great Douglas.

    Wonder if he was a Gunner?
    He didn’t like Cricket, that much is clear from the plot of Hitchhikers.

  32. Most fans seems to not understand economics and do not see the big picture and focus on talking about the need for this and for that. Seeing the grass greener somewhere else.
    Arsenal has grown and kept up with the big clubs. Arsenal is ran with its own assets and not a sugar dady. These guys can wake up one day and sell the club for a $1 and leave the debt mount.

    Arsenal is doing well, and exit from the FA cup is not desired, but it happens. Let Arsenal focus on the most important games they have. CL and EPL.

    To be honest, I’d rather exit now, better than losing against Man City in the 5th round. Because that time Arsenal will have an average of 2.5 games / week.

  33. Cujo 3.07 Bet there’s less fluff in this site than in your belly-button. :o)

    Hartwick Nice send up as well.

    And piss off you lot of wannabe owners. It’s MY club and I’ve the seniority to prove it. But I’ll accept Sir Tone’s offer of this being OUR site.

  34. Great article again! Who cares about the FA Cup-but the likes of Stoke, Leeds, etc as that is their only competition? That said I was not happy with the effort of Denilson on the second goal and Traore on the third(he just sood there!), I expected more from an AW player. I am more interested in the next 4 league fixtures.

  35. I am so critical of the media, that I really must be fair and report when they say something I like. Of course they are just jumping on the wagon full of bands (ie bandwagon) and repeating what we all said here 2 years back, but still it is amusing to know we were right…


  36. Oh and I meant to add – just look at the last sentence about the people who buy into Man IOU

    They’ve bought shares in the emotional equivalent of nitro glycerine.

    (Incidentally, when we first started calling the club Manchester Bankrupt and then Man IOU there were a few emails in saying, why do you call them this?

    And by the way, as WHU has new owners, that club is now West Porno

  37. Finsbury, what you tell there is just what I meant about the pundits and others “hating” us. Someone said that this was maybe a hard or harsh word and I agreed partially with that word but what you tell now it shows that the word “hated” was the correct one.
    The match commentators in my country dislike the Arsenal and if we do not wine 6-0 the say we didn’t perform as we could have. The only time they really got over it was with the 4-4 draw against the totts last season. He went mad. Our fan club even wrote to our paying channel and they even replied in a very decent way. Credit to them.

  38. i saw it on setanta and lou macari was commentating. not punditing, but commentating on the match in a supposedly neutral way.

    my arse.

    8, his failure to appreciate that when the press ask him a question that he then answers honestly, they don’t always appreciate his answers and so spin them in their typical bigoted way. Also that the meaning of any comment that he may makes may be twisted to suit the journalists notion of a good story.

    i love douglas adams, he was a clever bloke, dawkins quotes him all the time.

  39. Here is one mistake I personally think that AW did make.

    The mistake, in January 2008, was to assume that Flamini would sign a new contract. The club had asked him to “prove” himself despite the fact that for the previous two seasons he had played wherever the boss had asked him to and hadnt even complained when he was dropped for Ashley Cole before the Champions League Final, despite having done a fab job at left-back through the tournament. He wasnt asking for a huge wage increase, just a raise, in the summer of 2007. The club told him to prove himself. He then went out and, after Diaby got injured, established himself as the no.1 midfielder alongside Cesc.

    In January 2008 AW assumed Flamini would stay and allowed Diarra to leave because of that. But Flamini was obviously pissed off at Arsenal and started to flirt with Milan. They offered him big bucks and he went. The contract being offered to Flamini by Arsenal was more than he had been asking for the previous summer.

    Flamini, Cesc and Hleb were best friends. Flamini felt like he had been treated badly by the club. Did that lead to Hleb wanting to leave as well? It could have led to Cesc leaving as well since Barca quite obviously only wanted Hleb to entice Cesc.

    In 2008/09, as Song, Denilson and Diaby developed, that almost cost us a top-4 finish.

    That was one of the few mistakes I think AW really did make.

  40. Oh, and it looks like Song will be joining Eboue on the plane back from Angola. Yippee. Back in the team for Utd on the weekend?

  41. Sir Tony, another great one. I’m disappointed, are you saying that Wenger is not Nostradamus’s long lost cousin?

    In another note, I know neutral fan has heard from everybody, but I believe after every article you write, he keeps repeating all the garbage we heard before. I also see a trend here, that he would pop up with outrageous comment, wind people up, and disappears until the next article. Because after people respond to his question or comment, he never comes back and acknowledge. If you really want to know, wouldn’t you learn when the opportunity presents itself? Ignoring him may make him go away as he is really not here to contribute, learn, or support.

  42. I even read somewhere that the Glazers distributed the bond prospectus amongst the Man IOU playing staff. Imagine that!

  43. How about failure to properly coach against set pieces or to emphasise the importance of “defence” in football?

  44. Did someone already post this?

    (Barman) “Going to watch the match this afternoon then?”
    Ford glanced round at him. “No, no point,” he said, and looked back out of the window.
    “What’s that, foregone conclusion then you reckon sir?” said the barman. “Arsenal without a chance?”
    “No, no,” said Ford, “it’s just that the world’s about to end.”
    “Oh yes sir, so you said,” said the barman, looking over his glasses this time at Arthur. “Lucky escape for Arsenal if it did.”

    Douglas Adams did live in Islington and (I think) was an Arsenal supporter but the above was first broadcast 18 years before the Lord Wenger appeared to save us so the pessimism is understandable.

  45. @ untold community

    sorry, to call myself neutral fan but u will tore apart my comments if i call myself an arsenal fan….and i think i am not a fan of arsenal either…i only support one man for his willingess and tough attitude in the midst of such heavy criticism – ARSENE WENGER….for me he shud have been the greatest manager but for fergie…but in my opinion he commits some mistakes and people on this community instead of highlighting it support him blindly…but that’s the way it is…okay if my name infuriated u guys i will comment under a more believable name….

    and yes i cudn’t get ur idea tony and humour in it……b’coz arsenal is still in debt not comparable to liv or manu but still debt is there…nobody knows about future and i think fans may cry foul b’coz of ( i heard it) expensive tickets that arsene has set, players and i mean gr8 players, may cry foul over salary cap.

    fact is ur kind of fans are less, very less in no., for arsenal to have a more global appeal they have to win titles…as u guys said it future is unpredictable, it might happen that any rich man may take over arsenal and load it under loads of debt and undone the good work done by wenger….then what will u guys do??blame owners???or it might happen arsenal fall out of top 4 position(not this season) and fans might not like to come to watch arsenal and wenger then has to lower the prices of tickets….wenger says their expenses don’t depend upon cl but indirectly it will affect arsenal expenses….and then again u guys will blame fa and uefa for not acting quickly to curb financial doping….

    why i bother to comment ??? b’coz every positive shud have negetive otherwise it won’t be stable…so may b in a way i will try to complete ur blog….to have a fair discussion…..

  46. Yes great satire-
    The serious side though is- that our players aren”t getting enough protection from English referees and they have not been all season. Nor are they getting blatant penalties awarded. These are policy positions- Perhaps the EPL ,the FA and the BBC have not yet evolved to the point where they can allow a team which plays pure football to win. You get the sense that they only think a few English people brought up like themselves on kick and rush football are watching.
    Arsenal is the only club in the EPL with a mature long-term business model.In addition it is the only club where footballing principles are not sacrificed in order to win-{unlike many so called fans}. Ferguson has demonstrated many times the willingness to kick our players off the park in order to win-in fact his team legitimised what is now a standard tactic. Only in England is this kind of tactic and the level of influence exercised on the administration of the game by Ferguson legitimised. The EPL is a global product and Arsenal are revered everywhere for their footballing principles, their style of play, their entertainment value and increasingly for fair play. I have no problem with Wenger’s stubborness-he has to be stubborn to survive-the other options are to join the cloggers and bankrupt the club in the process.

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